Saturday, May 31, 2008

ER Visit #4

It could be #5, but I am going to give M the benefit of the doubt here. (And who's counting anyway?)

As planned, today was going to be a busy day for us.
  1. First thing this morning I needed to return the minivan I rented for our team build yesterday. I drove to Boulder for the team build and my boss asked me to rent a minivan so we could carpool in two cars.
  2. Next on the list was to go to the forest and cut some firewood. M has been wanting to do this and now that we have a firepit outside he had an excuse. He made a special trip to a hardware store this week to buy a new chainsaw for the adventure.
  3. If time allowed, we were going to go to the tree nursery with our neighbors to see about buying some trees for our front yard. We have both been considering going and the delivery fee is by truck so we thought we could split that. The trees that were planted in our front yard last summer appear to be dead. So we would like to replace them soon.
  4. I needed to get caught up on laundry and some other housework.
  5. I needed to make brownies for the Sunday school bbq we were going to tonight.
  6. Then we would pick up some friends and carpool to the party.

Those were our plans (or at least MY plans). Instead, we had a very crazy and partly terrifying day.

The beginning of the day went according to plan. We had a nice breakfast at home, I started a load of laundry, and then returned my rental car (after making a quick trip to PetSmart to replace a leash that Max destroyed this week). Next we loaded up everything to go to the forest. I was going to play with Max while M got his firewood. Neither of us wanted him to go alone since he is accident prone. He hates for people to label him this way, but it is entirely true. He will hate reading that sentence (if he does in fact read it). Believe me, I wish this was not the truth. We (as well as our good friends) could relate story after story that might be hard for you to believe that prove the truth to that statement. But I digress.

Things went well for the first part of our trip in the forest. I played with Max and he played some in the water again. M would chop some wood with his new chainsaw and load up the car. Then he would drive to another spot for more wood. We stayed close to him playing so we would be ready to go when he was ready to go.

After a while, I heard a yell. Then M yelled that he had cut his foot and I needed to take him to the hospital. He did not know how bad it was, but blood was squirting forcefully out of his workboot. This is when I flipped out. I did not handle this well at all. We were on a tiny jeep trail in this forest. I tried to back out, but I am terrible at backing out a long distance. So I tried to turn the car around. That was not going to happen so M made me switch seats with him so he could get us out of there. Before I go any further, I would like to clarify a couple of things. (A) You cannot get cell phone reception in the forest. That is why M did not want to be alone out there with his chainsaw. (B) He hurt his left foot so he could still drive with this right foot.

So M drove himself to the hospital while I sat next to him terrified and repeating "God, help us." All he told me was that he had cut his foot. It was wrapped in a towel that was getting more and more saturated with blood. I did not know (and later found out neither did he) how serious this was. Had something been cut completely off? Was he losing too much blood? We made record time to the hospital doing all kinds of illegal driving (passing on the shoulder, driving in the wrong lane, running a red light, etc).

This ER experience was unlike any other in several ways. First, we had to go through a metal detector before we could go in the ER. Then when M got to the desk, the man told him he would be with him in just a moment and then walked away. M then got his attention and asked, "Is there a particular place I should be for a chainsaw injury?" After that, he was taken back rather quickly.

He was cleaned up and x-rayed. He cut through several tendons and cut into the bone. He did not cut all the way through his big toe. The ER doctor sewed up the wound (which was amazing because at least half an inch of flesh was missing from his toe) and we will be visiting a surgeon early this week to see if he requires surgery. As they were cleaning up his wound, I had to leave the room because I was so squeamish.

I learned a couple of things today.

  • While I was freaking out about the worst thing happening, M kept reminding me that it could have been worse. He did not lose any limbs. He was still breathing. And he said he wanted some new workboots anyway. I told him that was NOT funny!
  • Even though I understand some of the rules that have to be followed at the hospital, I can get aggressive and confrontational when I think something that is necessary is not getting done.
  • We should have driven to the close-by firestation instead of driving to the hospital. Even though we may have gotten to the hospital later, M would have had immediate medical care and the drive to the hospital would have been safer for both us and other drivers.
  • I am thankful for those who are able to deal with other people's blood and guts because apparently I cannot do so.

Believe it or not, M still wanted to go to the Sunday school party tonight. He's a real trooper in my book. It was still a really busy day, but it was not busy how I had planned it. I would have rather stayed with my plan, but the day is ending the same way with us home together.

Here's a picture of M's boot. I didn't dare take one of his injury.

And here's a picture of the firewood we got before the accident.

M is worried about his foot healing well. The ER doctor said it will be a slow process because of the cut tendons and because part of the bone is missing. Please pray that it will heal correctly. Please also pray that the surgeon we meet with this week will know the best course of action and that we can get started on that soon. Also pray for me. I recognize after this accident that I want to lock M inside and not let him go out. Because he is accident prone, this just makes me worry about future incidents. However, he cannot live in my little box. And if he did, knowing him the ceiling fan would probably fall on him or something weird like that. I know this sounds silly, but I just need to trust that God is God and is in control of all things. In the large scheme, today was not life-altering or life ending for either of us. Even though it was really scary and painful, we are still hopeful for better days ahead.

Team Build

Yesterday my team at work had our annual team build. This year we decided to spend part of our day at a goat farm. I work for a natural food store (on the accounting team) and our stores purchase goat cheese from this farm.

Not only were the goats precious, but I also learned a bit about goats and goat cheese. This particular farm started about 16 years ago with 5 goats. They now have over 130 goats. We got to see a bunch of babies which was really fun. We saw one that was less than two weeks old. I wish I had a recording of their baa-ing. It really sounded cute.
  • This particular farm has seen three sets of quintuplets born. This year was the first in which all five babies and the mother survived.
  • Some of the mother goats after giving birth do not even look at their offspring.
  • The kids are taken from their moms after they're cleaned so they can be fed pasteurized milk so they won't get a disease that can come from the mother's raw milk.
  • There were two male goats that impregnate 60 or so female goats.
  • Goats are very social creatures and do not do well alone. This farm will not sell just a single goat. Buyers have to purchase at least two goats.
  • This particular farm cuts off the horns of the kids so they will not fight with each other.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Washing machine on the fritz

Monday evening after returning from taking our friends to the airport, I started on my gynormous pile of laundry. I discovered during my first load that something was amiss with the washer. The washer filled up and then would not drain or spin. So I made an appointment to have someone take a look at it. M and I talked about what we would be willing to pay for a repair.

I have had this washing machine for quite a while. I think I've had it either 7 or 8 years. I bought my washer and dryer the weekend I graduated from college. It was seriously my most proud and practical purchase at the time. I was so happy to have my own washer and dryer in my own little apartment. I felt quite grown up.
  • While still under warranty, the motor went out in my washer two different times. After the second time, they decided to replace my washer rather than replace the motor. Of course, the model was no longer available so I had to pay $80 or something like that for the closest model.
  • When we lived in the trailer in Austin, I had to call for a repair. I was so embarrassed to find out the washer wasn't working because the dial was between settings.
  • After moving into our house about a year and a half ago, I had to call for a repair again. Our washer and dryer had been sitting in a garage for a year and a half while we rented a townhouse. Once we moved it into the house, the washer did not work. The washer would fill up but would not spin. The problem was the little doo-dad on the lid was broken and the washer did not think the lid was closed. That repair cost a little more than $300.

So I had no idea what to expect today. The guy showed up around 1 pm today (after giving me a time frame of 8 am to 5 pm) to check out the washer. He asked me a few questions because he couldn't get it to do anything at all. After checking out all the usual stuff, he found that the GFI outlet just needed to be reset.

Embarrassing? It was not as embarrassing as the situation above when it was my own error that caused the problem. Frustrating? Definitely. Neither M nor I had even considered checking the outlet. That will be my first course of defense next time around. That cost me $118 today. Yikes. While I am upset about spending $118 for something so silly, I am thankful that the washer lives on for now.

So here's my free advice to you...check the outlet before calling for service on any appliance.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

9 months

Max turned 9 months old over the weekend. With everything else going on, I completely forgot about it. Our friend M had a paparazzi moment on Sunday night and took gobs of pictures of Max. This is one of my favorites.

Happy 9 months Max!
Other than his love for water, the newest thing we have learned about Max is that he is more afraid of the hair dryer and vacuum cleaner than the lawn mower. Hmmm...

"It's the altitude"

We had a really good weekend with our friends N and M. I am sure to leave something out, but I hope I will capture all the fun here.

Friday = Day One
M picked N and M up from the Denver airport. This gave me some extra time to finish preparing for our weekend of fun. M and I had gone over everything I needed to do, and as you will soon find out, I forgot a lot of what we had talked about. This is why making a list is a very good idea for me.

Once the three of them got to the house. They unloaded a bag from the car and we loaded our bags, cooler, firewood, water, and Max. We had lunch at Scholtzsky's (funny name, serious sandwich) and then headed into the mountains. This is when I revealed the roadtrip cds I had made for our trip. I have no idea what caused me to revert to my high school/college days, but we enjoyed listening to various tunes on the 3 cds that I made.

The plan was to car camp Friday night and then hike Saturday. We were not able to get into the area where M wanted to camp (due to the road being closed), but we got close to that area. We set up camp next to a creek. It sounded lovely. I couldn't tell you how many times Max crossed that creek. Every once in a while, he would try to jump all the way across it but I don't think he was ever successful. As we started to set up the tents (and by "we" I really mean everyone but me), the snow started to fall. I am not kidding. I had no idea it was going to be that cold. I would like to blame this on M since he told me "the weather won't be that bad", but I should have known better and looked for myself. Once it started snowing, I made my first discovery of items I hadn't packed - gloves, wool socks, and a hat. The guys made a nice fire and M cooked hamburgers. I then made my second discovery of items I forgot to pack - mustard, mayo, pickles, and dish soap. After we ate, we went for a short walk around the area. It was a beautiful place. We decided to get to bed since our friends had been up so early for their flight.

M, Max, and I did not get a wink of sleep Friday night. Poor Max was shivering so much. I was afraid he might freeze to death. My feet were so cold, I kept picturing getting out of the tent the next morning and having blue feet. I started praying for daylight so I could go get in the car and turn on the heat. At one point I told M it was the most miserable night of my life.

Saturday = Day Two
M (of N and M) came over to our tent Saturday morning to let us know that N had gotten sick (altitude sickness). It was about 4:40 am when she let us know. We soon found out that none of us had slept all night. We started packing up and left around 5 am. Even though I think everyone was disappointed about missing the hike, we were all ready to get home since we didn't sleep. About half an hour to an hour after we pulled out of our camping spot, I looked at the temperature gauge in the car which said it was 27 degrees outside. I have no idea how cold it got, but we will not go camping in winter weather again (hopefully) in a three season tent.

Once we got back to the house around 8 am, everyone showered and I made breakfast. Then the girls both ended up taking naps for a couple of hours while the guys watched movies. Max lounged around all day...he was completely pooped. After we had rested for a bit, we went to see the new Indiana Jones movie. The guys had high expectations and were sorely disappointed by the movie. I didn't really have any expectations so I was entertained. Afterwards, we went to my favorite Tex-Mex restaurant here for dinner. It was delicious. We came back home and played a few games and then turned in for the night.

Sunday = Day Three
Sunday was a beautiful and sunny day. Sometime after a late breakfast, the guys went shooting while the girls stayed home and played with Max. We later went shopping. The guys came home from shooting and took Max on a hike up the road a bit to "the forest." There is a pond/lake there and M wanted to see how Max would react to the water. He said after their walk he was looking for something to throw into the water so Max would jump in. Before he could find anything, Max went right in the water. He apparently loved it! We spent the rest of the evening playing games, eating dinner, and answering questions out of this book I have for getting to know anyone. We ate dinner on the back porch with our new fire pit. I was a little freaked out by having fire in our backyard in the wind, but it was quite enjoyable to sit around the fire and chat. It was a fun and relaxing day.

Monday = Day Four
Monday went by so quickly (as did the rest of the weekend). The guys took us back to the lake so we could watch Max in the water. He really did look like he was having a great time. We had to leave in the afternoon to take N and M back to the airport. The rest of our day was quiet because we were both sad to see them go.

M and I learned soon after moving to Colorado that almost anything could be attributed to the altitude. Have a headache? It's the altitude. Tired? It's the altitude. Car running funny? It's the altitude. So our running joke all weekend to whatever happened was "it's the altitude."

It was so WONDERFUL to have our friends here for the weekend. I wish we could get together more often.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Incredible News

Yesterday I heard the incredibly sad story about Steven Curtis Chapman's 5 year old daughter passing away. I was having trouble thinking about rejoicing in my own life knowing that someone else was going through such a hard time.

Then today we found out that M's mom had an appointment yesterday where she received incredible news. Her doctor told her that her body is responding really well to the treatment she has been receiving since January. The doctor gave her the following prognosis. Two years is almost a given. Five years is possible. And ten years is not out of the question.

In January, she was told by a previous doctor that she had only weeks to live. This same doctor thought the treatment she is now undergoing would kill her.

And now, we are celebrating the possibility of years left to spend time together and to make new memories.

Praise the Lord! From what I hear, everyone is celebrating with brownies and ice cream.

Monday, May 19, 2008

How does your garden grow?

I spent most of Saturday outside planting in the front and back flower beds. This was really my first time to plant like this so I am anxious to see what happens in the next couple of months. We have a really short growing season here - I just planted this weekend and we could have snow as early as October.

I took before and after pictures of both flower beds. It is hard to see all the flowers in the after shot, but I expect (or am hoping) they will grow a lot and fill in the empty spaces.

In the front, I planted carnations and jethro tull coreopsis in pots near the front door and on both sides of the driveway. In the bed, I planted the following.

  • spenger asparagus
  • pincushion flowers
  • foxgloves
  • African daisies
  • regal geraniums

In the back bed, I planted the following.

  • salvia
  • dahlias
  • petunias

Almost everything in the front ended up being a shade of purple. I really like all the colors, but I saw so many purple flowers that I liked. Since I have never had a flower bed before, I was afraid of having too much color and it all looking chaotic.

While I was working in the flower beds, M worked on our fence. Unfortunately for us, the guy who built our fence did not do a good job or use good materials. So M spent just as long as I did in the flower beds working on the fence. He did a great job fixing it, but thinks other parts of it need to be replaced as well. So we may be working outside quite a bit this summer.

Max behaved very well while I was working in the flower beds. I played with him some, but mostly he just sat near the flower beds holding his Chuck-it toy. He did a great job of staying in the front yard. I tried to get his picture with the flowers, but that didn't work out like I hoped.

Saturday evening we had our neighbors over for burgers and to watch "The Prestige." All day I was thinking about grilling out since the weather was so nice. It was delicious!!

Here's to Spring/Summer!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I folded

I gave in and went to see the doctor yesterday. M has been having foot problems since last summer, and I don't want to find myself in the same boat if my toe were to heal improperly. I found out that my toe is, in fact, broken. His suggestion was to keep it taped to its neighbor toe for the next couple of weeks. My toe has been hurting more since having it taped than it was before. And it's a pain to walk with my toes taped together.

I was also able to talk to my doctor about another issue I've been having. If you know me at all, I am sure you know that I am always feeling tired. I have always had low blood pressure (at least as far back as I can remember). I also found out recently that my heart rate is higher than normal to compensate for my low blood pressure. So I asked the doctor if my low blood pressure could be related to my tiredness. He said they could definitely be related. Yesterday, my blood pressure was especially low for me (86/60) and my heart rate was around 100. My doctor wants me to add salt to my diet - salt at every meal. We'll see if that works. I haven't added it to any meal yet. I am curious to see if this will do anything.

I am curious because when I was in high school, my mother was put in the hospital because the doctor thought she had or was having a heart attack. It turned out that she had a virus that made her body think she was having a heart attack. It was scary to me. As a result of that illness, my mom found out she had a heart murmur. At that time, her doctor told her to decrease her salt intake (among other things, I'm sure). She still used it for cooking, but a lot of times she just let us add it to our own food rather than putting more in while she was cooking. I just stopped adding the salt to my food at all (I'm not sure why exactly - did I not like salt, was I being lazy, or was I a little freaked out by the situation?). Since that time, I don't salt my food. I do cook with salt, but I don't add any once my food is on my plate. Let's hope it works.

I really like this doctor that M and I found. He is young - has to be in his late 30s or early 40s. He is friendly. He has a nice bedside manner although some of his sayings are a little hokey. I really like that he had a suggestion for me for my blood pressure that was not taking a pill. I am not opposed to taking pills, but I like that he wanted to try something else first. It seems like a lot of doctors (and patients) are looking for a quick fix, and I would rather know what's really going on.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

St Louis Botanical Garden

Here are a few pictures I took at the St Louis Botanical Garden. We had a break in the clouds and rain while we were there Saturday morning. We even happened to go at a time when we got in free (regular price is only $4 for city residents and $8 for non-residents - that's not bad at all in my book). It was a really nice place. We were there a couple of hours and didn't see everything.

This was my favorite plant we saw - isn't the color gorgeous?

Obviously these fish are used to being fed. I was grossed out by how big they are and how much they wanted the food people were giving them.

This was the best of three pictures of us. I'll take what I can get.


I think my toe may be broken.

Sunday night after we turned out the lights, I got up to turn off the light on our humidifier (If you don’t already know, we live in the driest part of the universe…what I like to call the booger capital of the world.) Anyway, on my way back to bed I kicked the suitcase sitting on the floor at the end of our bed. It hurt. I can’t tell you how many times in my life I have kicked the end of the bed or any number of things I was walking by. It always hurts but not like this hurt.

This is what my toe looked like the next day. It doesn’t hurt terribly during the day, but it is uncomfortable. It really hurt this morning when Max stepped on it. I don’t even want to remember that my 80+ pound dog stepped on my hurt toe. I told him that was not very nice.

M told me I should go to the doctor – that’s what I have medical insurance for. However, there is nothing the doc could do but tell me, “Yep, it’s broken.” Maybe it’s just really bruised. I’m not sure because I’ve never had a toe turn another color from kicking something. So I’m holding my ground on this one…unless it gets worse this week.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

M and I spent Mother's Day with his mother in St Louis this year. This was especially special because according to her doctors in Baltimore and Chicago earlier this year she wouldn't be around for Mother's Day. We are so thankful she is still around and feeling pretty good to boot.

We left Colorado Springs early Thursday in a mad dash for the airport. On the way, we dropped Max off at M’s aunt and uncle’s house in Parker (between 1 and 1 1/2 hours from our house). We were at their house maybe 5 minutes because we were in such a hurry to get to the Denver airport. In fact, we were in such a hurry that I forgot to take Max's food with us. Poor Max. We made it to the airport in the nick of time. We would have barely made it, but our flight ended up being delayed an hour. It would have been nice to know about the delay ahead of time. That would have saved us $60 in short term parking. I was thankful we made it at all…and without a speeding ticket.

The weekend in St Louis was nice. It was mostly cloudy and rainy while we were there. We hardly ever see that weather. It made us both sleepy the whole weekend – and we probably had an overload of oxygen that we are not used to. M’s mom is doing well. She is feeling pretty good but gets tired easily and has low energy. We went to the botanical garden and she walked around with us for a couple of hours. We also spent time with M's sister's family. Our nephew will be 3 in August and our neice is 6 months old. They are cute kiddos. M's sister kept asking when we're moving to St Louis. It is nice for someone to want us nearby. We both wish we were closer to family. I am pretty sure neither of us miss the humidity though - and it will be quite hot and humid there soon.

Max spent the weekend with the 4 German shepherds again. He came home mostly unscathed. It turns out this is the weekend he decided to start humping. Unfortunately, he chose the largest and oldest of the German shepherds to try this out on. What a crazy dog! I guess the neutering is now right around the corner. This is a first that I don’t think either of us is upset about missing. Silly Max! He also got out of his crate twice while we were gone. We haven’t used his crate at home since early March. I guess he decided he'd had enough of the crate. I am sure he will be lonely this week.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Weekend with the Fam

**I had a great weekend at my folks' house with my parents, my brother C, and my oldest nephew W. C and W drove to my parent's house Thursday afternoon and I flew in Thursday evening. My mom told me at the end of March that W would be playing in a tennis tournament in Amarillo this weekend. So I booked a flight on Southwest ($49 fare each way - you gotta love that) so I could watch him play. I hadn't ever seen him play tennis before much less play in a tournament. W is only 11 and you can see in the this picture is almost as tall as me and my mom.
**Friday morning we played golf at a par 3 course. Even though I took a few golf lessons a couple of summers ago, I have never actually played golf. This was my first 18 holes to play. For me it was nice to play on a par 3 course just so I could learn what I was supposed to do. I think it was a bit short for my brother. We played a scramble - I was on a team with my brother and W and my mom were on a team. We beat them by 5 strokes I think. We all had a really good time. My dad stayed in the shade and watched us some. He also took this picture of us. (We're wearing jackets because it was windy and in the 40s. It turned out to be a beautiful afternoon though.)
**Saturday was W's tennis tournament. I was very impressed with his ability, his effort, and his attitude. There were kids there (11 to 12 year olds) that already had some bad tempers. It's not going to be pretty when they are a little older. W didn't win his matches, but he played really well. I think each time he plays in a tournament his confidence is boosted a bit. I sure hope so. After his second match, my brother passed the mother of the boy W had played. She stopped and told W that she hoped her son learned something from him. In that boy's first match, he gave up after he lost the first set. She was very impressed that W continued to work hard even when he was behind. I was very proud of him. I took about 150 pictures of him playing. That's what I do.
**That afternoon my parents' Sunday school class had an event at a park near their church. They invited the community to come for hot dogs and games. There were some of the air castles for kids to play in, the high school band from their church, food, and some other games. The pastor gave each Sunday school class money to do some sort of outreach event to reach the community outside the church walls. It was a neat event. No one knows for sure how many people came, but a family from the community who had been at the event came to church the next morning.
**My mom bought a Wii a while ago so we played that this weekend as well. W and I played baseball, golf, and tennis on it. That's a pretty fun setup.
**I don't get to see my brother's family often. And even though I didn't get to see his wife or his youngest son R, it was a great weekend. I really enjoyed spending time with them. I am hoping they will come visit us this summer.
**By the way, R is about to turn 7 in a couple of weeks. He started playing baseball this spring/summer. This is his first year to play baseball, and he loves it. So far he is 12 for 12 in hits. His first game he threw a kid out at first base. He is a huge UT fan, but his team is the Aggies. He was not excited about that, but he is really enjoying himself. He was not able to come this weekend because he had 2 baseball games. I hope to watch him play baseball sometime. My brother gave me one of R's baseball cards over the weekend. He has the most serious look on his face. And when he signed the back of it, he wrote really fast like the guys who give you their autograph.
**They are cute kids! I wish I could see them more often. Maybe one day that will be possible. Until then, I treasure the time I do get to spend with them.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

May 2008

It snowed here on May 1st. Here's hoping the rest of the month is warm and sunny.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

I am rich

Almost every time I hear the word “rich” I think of loads of money. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how that word must mean more than just material wealth. Webster defines rich as follows… (1) “having abundant possessions and especially material wealth”; (2a) “having high value or quality”; (2b) “well supplied or endowed”. I like definition 2b the best of these. It still has a connotation of material wealth, but I am going to use the word a little differently. I have always thought the terms richness and fullness were similar. I could be wrong here, but I am going to use the word rich outside the realm of material wealth.

I am rich in many ways that I take for granted most days. And the beautiful thing is that these cannot be taken away from me.
**God is my God and Father. He loves me unconditionally and wants to work in and through my life. I have done nothing to deserve this. It is a gift from Him. Not only does He give me love, He offers peace that is beyond human understanding. He provides protection, not always from injury, but from eternal separation from Him. He has a plan for my life. He knew me before I was born, before I was even in my mother’s womb.
**My husband loves me well. He provides for me. He listens to me. He enjoys spending time with me. The foundation of our relationship and marriage is the faith God has given each of us. With our foundation secure, we have started to build a life, marriage, home together. I can’t wait to see what the future holds and to one day look back and see what God did in spite of the sinners we are.
**My parents raised me in a Christian home where I saw what day-to-day life should look like. They prayed for me and continue to pray for me daily.
**I have good friends that I ache to be close in distance to again. And I know several of them ache for the same thing.

Every one of these has to do with a relationship in my life. Wow. That has not occurred to me in this way until I just typed it out. If I truly believe these relationships are what make me rich, do I live and view my life as a rich one? These relationships are what bring richness to my life. Do I spend my time cultivating and being grateful for these relationships?