I Can See

We were surprised today to see our picture in the Deland Beacon – the local newspaper. It was taken when we were watching the Stetson baseball game in Persimmon Hollow. We were in a group but right up front and very recognizable. The photographer is a larger than life personality very well known around Deland. She’s a very large lady and totally deaf so she doesn’t speak but makes lots of strange noises and is a very boisterous Stetson supporter. At first I thought she was mentally disabled but Nancy knew her from a quilting event and explained that she was deaf.

Up until the beginning of June our Monday routine was firmly anchored in taking Nancy to Palm Coast for a bridge game. I fished, read, hit a brewery or basically anything that seemed right for the moment. Then her bridge partner ran into problems and was forced to relocate – to Wisconsin or some other bad place. Because of her vision issues, there were no other members eager to jump in and rescue Nancy so the era of Monday bridge was ended. Timing wise it worked out just fine because it freed us up on Monday during the period that Wilma was having all her medical problems. And we found a new place to eat, High Jackers, which was conveniently located less than a mile from the hospital. It was at the Flagler County airport and was my kind of watering hole with an added attraction – spicy peel and eat boiled shrimp on special Wednesday’s and Thursday’s. The special is a pound of really nice shrimp for $10. And a draft brew was $2. So we simply adjusted our schedule to visit Wilma on Wed or Thurs. But wait, on Monday the bridge club called and asked Nancy to please come back on Mondays and she agreed. It’s 100 mile round trip to Palm Coast so I don’t want to go over there twice a week. And I could never pay $16 for shrimp when I know they will be $10 in two days. So you see the trap.

I had my annual eye exam and was fairly sure it would focus on my cataracts. Last year the doc said that they’d most likely need action this year. To me, my sight was ok – not perfect but not really bad and I had somehow managed to pass the drivers test a couple of weeks back. The results of this year’s exam showed things were fairly well stable, that I don’t need glasses other than drug store readers, and that the cataracts could go another year or so before doing anything. I was fully prepared to tell the doc that I didn’t want any cataract surgery but the test results supported my position.

Checked out the lake for swimming and found the temp to be perfect – probably in the upper 80’s. I’ve been working in the garden and/or the jungle for a couple of hours each day – until I’m totally wiped out and dripping. Based on the temp test, from now on I’ll end the hard work with a cooling dip in the lake.

Lot’s Going On

I’ve never seen anything like the fire ants this season. Overnight they build very large mounds that you would think were weeks in the construction. I poison the mound which is supposed to cause the mound to collapse, killing all the ants and the queen – and it does but overnight a new one (or two) will spring up a couple feet away. We’ve been much wetter than usual since early May so this must somehow be connected. I’m using a different insecticide than I have in the past but it’s certainly a big brand and well known. If I don’t start seeing success in a few days, I’ll go back to the Amdro. Maybe these ants are a new super species that chew up the insecticides and spit out new mounds.

June is my month. Had a great birthday party at a German place in Sanford- they have a grapefruit flavored beer that I’m particularly attached to. Denis and Judy (Spelman) visited and was able to join the family at Hidden Treasures for a great fathers day. Johnny and Brian and his family plus some friends from Cocoa joined us. I think the total head count was 15. Tom got me the most unanticipated father’s day gifts – the worlds greatest ladder and an imitation Iguana. The ladder is most useful because each side is independently adjustable making it able to work on hills, on steps, around corners while holding very stable – which is a big deal for me. It’s a 6 foot step ladder that can be expanded to a 12’ step ladder or a 20’ extension ladder. Very nice for cleaning the gutters which is tricky because along one side of the house the legs are on the lawn and the other is at a higher level on the concrete deck. The other thing was an imitation iguana. We had read that putting a fake iguana or snake in the garden, it would scare of the birds. I located it in the garden where I have the most bird activity and it seemed to work. But yesterday I went to the garden to pick some tomatoes and forgot it was there until I came within a couple of feet and glanced down. Scared the hell out of me for a few seconds and then I busted out laughing.

Garden pretty much done. Picking the last of the tomatoes and making the season’s ending batch of sauce. There was a beautiful ripe eggplant patiently waiting to become parmigiana. done – in fact it’s cooking as I write this.

Exciting day. Took Nancy to the hemotologist which is normally a one hour event. They keep the office too cool for me so I usually go outside, sit on a bench, and read a book. I was doing that when a large crash occurred at the turn in for the doctors office. I was maybe 75’ away and saw this large truck crash into a small car. The car had crossed in front of the truck and ended off the road up onto the sidewalk. I rushed over to see what had happened and saw the car was driven by an elderly lady. She looked fine and I opened the car door to get to her. I asked her if she was ok, planning to get her out of the car if I could. About that time a nurse from the doctor’s office came on the scene and an emergency vehicle arrived so I backed off and let the pro’s handle it. She was totally coherent and didn’t seem to have any obvious external physical issues.

Getting Back to Normal

We’ve about recovered from last week’s testing. The freezers are straightened out and the one gallon water jugs filled and back in the freezer (to prepare for the next emergency). Living out in the woods, we are nominally prepared for periodic power losses and having a few days of ice on standby is an important element. The new fridge is fine, just like the old one with better internal lighting. The ice maker has been able to keep up with the need for ice for Nancy’s knee. Which, by the way, passed the one week follow up appointment. The doc said the tear was worse than he thought but she’s healing well and quite able to support her weight and walk without any assistance. I suspect all the activity of last week with Wilma actually helped the knee.

Wilma finally had an endoscopy Tuesday afternoon so our trip to the hospital was supposed to end with her being discharged and back home. But the doc’s decided she needed another day of recovery. The scope showed gastritis and a bleeding ulcer were the cause of the blood loss. I assume the bleeding had stopped since her blood had built up to 9.5 and the treatment was Nexium which heals such maladies. They called at noon on Wednesday and told us she was to be discharged so we headed over to the coast to get her back to her apartment and alert her “caregiver” that we were officially out of the loop. I think we hurt their feelings when we went around them on Saturday and took her directly to the emergency room but…………… I had a long talk with the “independent care giver” to find out why the admission process was so confused. Turns out that the caregivers are contracted by Wilma’s daughter in Atlanta and that Wilma is one of several customers living in Las Palmas. Their job is to check on her daily and make sure she’s taking her meds and is generally in good health. The caregiver can’t make the call to take her to the hospital. The process is for them to call the daughter and take direction from her but (according to the caregiver) she tells them to do whatever her mother (Wilma) wants. The problem with that is obvious – she may not be able to make the decision or she makes the wrong decision as in this case when she decided to hold off going to the hospital until after Memorial Day. When we jumped in and took her to the hospital we short circuited the system. The other big problem with Wilma’s arrangement is that she is seriously hard of hearing so when the hospital staff tries to communicate with her directly, she simply can’t hear them but rather than saying that, she answers questions incorrectly because she can’t understand what they’re saying. I really don’t know how the whole process would have worked if we hadn’t been there. Over the several days since her admission, several hospital staff personnel went out of their way to thank us for being there and helping.

We made the first batch of pasta sauce for this season. It’s 90% cherry tomato based which puts a little bite to the sauce. Love it. The first batch is 16 quarts so we’re off to a good start. That’s good because I’m thinking the total crop will not be so great with all the rain we’ve had. There are also a few eggplants on the bushes so I see a totally home grown eggplant parmigiana in the near future.

Had a great time today – Saturday. Nancy had a hair appointment at 3PM. Since her hair person is only a couple blocks from Persimmon Hollow we decided to wrap it all up. We had bought a small block of nice cheese, some thin sliced hard salami, and good crackers so we packaged that up in a small insulated lunch bag and combined with a small cutting board, a knife, paper plates, napkins and toothpicks. You see it. That plus a couple of fine craft brews just hit the spot. It just so happened that there is an NCAA regional baseball tourney going on here with Stetson making it to the regional finals and Persimmon Hollow becoming the unofficial tourney watering hole so the place was jammed and rocking. Some people let us share their table and we thanked them by shared our snack so it was a fun event. I think next time we’re