Friday, October 1, 2010

The Story of a Tree and a Geek

My husband is a computer geek. 

Now I mean that in the most complimentary way.  8-)  He is super smart with computers.  I've learned most of what I know about computers from him.

Neither one of us are outside people (reference older blog where I confessed to killing all things green.).  He cuts a mean lawn...he excels at that, but other stuff...well, he's a computer much can one man be good at?

Once upon a time, we were feeling extremely energetic.  It was the first spring after we had moved into the house here in AL.  We decided we needed to clear off some of what I call the 'south 40' part of our land.  [We have an extremely large back yard with some brush and trees on the back part of it.  (Also on this back yard is a gazebo, a large tool shed which houses his mower and other extraneous cluttering items, and his Sky Shed Pod).  The brush and trees are beyond all these items.]

We had some vines up in the trees that we started pulling down to clean up the trees and then I noticed this one tree that looked dead.  "Honey", I started...thinking, thinking, thinking. 

He says, "Huh?" ever so cautiously because he recognizes that word as meaning much more than just "Hi, Honey...". 

I say, "Look at that tree."  He says, "What about it?" 

I say, "It looks dead to me."  He says, "So?" 

I say, "But it could fall on the house..."  He says, "The house is WAY over there, it isn't tall enough to fall on the house."    (See picture below where I am standing about where the tree was and way on the other side of the gazebo is where the house is located.  Keep in mind that the gazebo was not there when we were looking at this dead tree.)

OK, so in my mind I was really thinking "The dead tree might hit the gazebo that I am going to suggest we build there (after we get all this stuff cleaned out of the south 40)".  But I couldn't say that yet. 

Finally, he sighs and says, "What do you want to do?" 

I am feeling all 'Paul Bunyany' so I say "Let's cut it down...I think WE can do this." 

He looks at me like I have three heads. 

In his head I am sure that he is going over his lack of outdoor tools for this kind of task.  I encourage him..."It's just a SMALL tree."  We look up at the 25 ft tree squinting at the sun in order to see the top of it.

"Hmmph"  I hear from him.  "If you want to try it, we will try to cut it down."  (See how he loves me.  8-)   So he goes to get his 'saw'.  See visual of saw below.

I ask him, "Is that all we've got?"  He assures me it is and I just kind of tilt my head and look at him and then at it.  "Well, if it is what we have, then we'll just have to do it with that." 

Now you must remember, it is the royal 'We' that I was talking about.  (We = Him)

He proceeded to start cutting the tree down and we are noticing how difficult it is to cut but he keeps plugging away at it.  Finally, it looks like maybe we could push it over and break it off.  After we push and push and nothing happens, he starts getting inventive and wraps a rope around it and starts walking away with the rope in his hands and pulling.  I'm thinking "He's gonna pull that tree right down on top of his head." 

Again, the tree would not be budged from it's standing position. 

But, after sawing a bit more, with me pushing on the tree and him pulling on the rope, the rope trick did it and the tree came crashing down.  Somehow, it even missed landing on the man with the rope.  (I kept worrying the whole time I was pushing that we had no idea what we were doing and I was probably going to get charged with murder when this stupid tree landed on him and killed him.)

[Side Note from story:  I am sure that we have always been amusing to the neighbors.  The first year we lived here we were always up to something in the backyard that was beyond our scope of abilities...and they were all just saying to themselves, "Why don't they just plant some flowers?"...HA!]

I noticed that it had an awful lot of green in the trunk.  OOPS.  I guess that tree wasn't dead after all. 

Later that spring the poor tree tried to grow new shoots and we (he) continued to cut them down to encourage it not to grow anymore.  Wow...these Alabama trees just won't give it up.  I thought just by my touching it that the stupid tree would die.

Now the stump looks like this.  It is finally dead.  HA! (Nearly three years later)

Last year he bought a chain saw so that he could eventually get it flat with the ground to make it easier to mow over.  As you can see, this is a slow process but his 'geekiness' is showing even here with those little criss-crosses that he has done with the blade.  8-) 

He has gone out today to finish the slaughter of the stump.  Bye-bye little tree.  8-)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lady, You've Got a Fat Cat

My cat, Shadow, is one of the joys in my life.  8-)

We got her nine years ago this Thanksgiving.  She is a mutt cat but looks like a Russian Blue.  We rescued her from a cat shelter in Florida called, SOCKS (Save Our Cats and Kittens).  I'm not going to even pretend that I own her...she definitely owns me.  She was my empty nest syndrome resolution and it worked really well.  After four kids, it was nice to have something to care for that pretty much cared for herself.  8-)

When she was about a year old, I was concerned because her belly (and only her belly) seemed to be enlarged so I took her to the vet to make sure she was ok.  He examined her thoroughly and while feeling of her belly, looks at me and says, "Lady, you have a fat cat." and proceeded to tell me to put her on this skimpy little diet and play with her more.  Yeah, that didn't work so well.  Eight years later, she is still a fat and lazy cat. 

We tried cutting back her food but she loudly complained about that.  Not little complaints...large caterwalling.  You would have thought we were abusing her if you were listening from outside.

We tried playing with her but she would just look at us and yawn.   We would put a string over her for her to jump up and get and she would roll over on her back and bat at the air (nowhere near the stupid string) and wait for us to drop it low enough for her to grab.  Yeah, we fell for that trick over and over.  We were trainable.  Yessiree....

Wherever I am, there she must be also.  Normally, when I am at my desk, she parks herself BEHIND my work computer and lays her head on the washcloth that I have there for her.  This allows her to peak at me from between the computers and not miss any action in case there might be FOOD coming with me to the computer.  (Yes, I am guilty of giving her leftovers that I can't eat...bad me...I KNOW)  This might also explain why she seems to be another appendage to my body...(things that make you go "hmmmmmm")

This morning, however, she insisted on planting herself BETWEEN my two computers with her tail basically in my face.  Nothing I could do would move her. Considering that, at that point, she owned the mouse to my work computer, there wasn't much work I was going to get done without moving her either.  Since she wouldn't be moved, I pulled gently on the mouse cord to get enough to enable me to get my work done.  (Is this ridiculous or what??)

I was going to take her picture on the guest bed this morning (She owns the guest bedroom...I guess we should call it Shadow's bedroom) but she decided she was curious enough to see what I was up to.   In the picture below you can almost hear her grunting as she gets up to see what I am doing with that stupid camera again.  "Ugh...must move this tonnage I have for a body.  I know I can pull it up, give me just a minute."  NO, those are not muscles rippling on her body...that is fat shaking...

In the picture below, you can almost see her pondering her life but what she is really doing is looking outside at the birds and wondering how she is going to make her escape to take them down.  For nine long years she's been planning that escape.  8-) 

 We love her just the way she is though...even if she is fat and lazy.  8-)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Top Ten

So...I've whined and complained in this blog environment.  Now I'd like to talk about the good things due to the cancer situation.

Yeah...there are some good things.  Here are the top 10:  (Not necessarily in order of importance)

1.  My husband gets me Starbucks every morning.  (I LOVE Starbucks)

2.  I am more connected to people even though I never see them (Family AND friends)

3.  I get to work from home

4.  I get to eat ANYTHING I want to eat and still lose weight.

5.  I get to sleep in til 6:30 (if I can)....I used to have to get up around 5ish...ugh.

6.  I can sit around the house in shorts and a T-shirt and not worry so much about 'how' I look each day.

7.  Not only are others getting to know me better through the blog but I'm getting to know me better.  8-)  Lots of time for introspection whether I want to do it or not...HA!

8.  My cat has gotten over her separation anxiety that she acquired from our Christmas Train trip to North Dakota last year since I have been home with her ALL the time now.  (Another story for another time)

9.  I get to see how loving and caring my husband really is.  (I knew he was before but he is really digging deep now to take care of me.)

10.  I don't have to fix my hair every day.  (OH, I don't have to fix it ever because there is no hair..LOL)

I guess no matter how bad something is, there is always a positive side if you look hard enough.  Things could be a lot my boss could have said I had to physically come into work every day, my husband could have said "get your own coffee or do without", and my family could have just said "Good luck with that cancer business" instead of being so supportive.  I am very very blessed to have the family and bosses (yeah, I have two of them) that I have. 

As my blog friend Clara would say, "God is good....all the time!"

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Morning Ritual

I go through a ritual each morning when I wake up for a couple of  weeks after chemo now.

Temp - check to see if over 100.5

Intestines -  well, I won't go into this one but suffice it to say one does not want to be bleeding in this

Extreme fatigue - check if I have any energy today

Mouth sores - check if they are present or if gums are red and swollen

Nausea - check if medicine does not help it go away

Swelling of ankles or stomach or weight gain (yeah, weight gain certainly isn't a problem so far)

New bruises on body - check this because it is an indication of platelet problems

Yellowing of eyes or skin - check this because it is an indication of liver problems

Short of breath - Yeah, not sure what this is a result of.  I'm not short of breath, so I'm not worried about

Any of these require a call to the doctor's office. 

Yeah...I never call. 

I would call if my temp went up too much because that means my white cells are too low and I would need a booster shot to increase them.  Last time they gave me the booster shot immediately before I needed it and there was a lot of bone pain.  (Most people don't get bone pain from the Neulasta shot...lucky me.)  SO glad they said I didn't have to do that this time unless my white count dropped.  I guess I might call them if I was so fatigued that I couldn't do self -care also because apparently they have something for that too and since it is related to anemia then I would definitely want that fixed.  Must have energy.  8-)  So far I have been very blessed. 

Tom and I have realized that I probably should be keeping some kind of journal because this time I can't remember what happened last time and if it was just normal.  I totally got over whatever side affects happened last time by the third week so I don't want to call if it will just pass without intervention.  I mean, no ones wants to be a complainer to the doctor's office.  Then when you really have something wrong they would just be going "OH, it's HER again." instead of taking you seriously.  Besides...I don't want to take any more medication than I have to...ugh.

So out of all these symptoms, the ones that hit me the hardest are the sore gums (I am doing the baking soda and salt rinse like they told me to but they still hurt.), nausea, and fatigue.  I have been very blessed that my chemo reactions are not any worse than they are. 

Funny they don't put your EMOTIONS on the list.  Those are probably the most  I really think those might be related to the fact that the chemo kills all your estrogen so it puts you into full blown menopause.  Just imagine a woman who isn't gradually (as God intended) going through menopause  but just jumps right into it full force. 

As you can imagine, Tom needs your prayers more than I do...HA!  8-)

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Good Day

Gloomy Rainy Day ... the kind of weather that makes my head hurt. 

I got some good laughs this morning from my husband though. 

I asked him a few weeks ago (I can't even remember how long ago it odd.) to play Farmville with me because I needed 'friends' and I knew he would be my 'friend'.  (muwah wah....evil laugh)  I am usually asleep when he leaves but my headache pushed me out of bed this morning and I walk into our office in my pajamas with my little bald head and he is sitting there following his routine of playing before he leaves so I'll get some goodies out of the game when I get up.  I sit down at my desk and I hear him say, "If I could find as many bushels of wheat as I am finding Queen Bees, I'd have it made."  The comment struck me as so funny because my head wasn't in Farmville yet and here I've got my husband so involved in the game that the first thing out of his mouth in the morning is a comment like that.  HA! 

I've sucked everyone I could think of into this game to play with me.  My Sister, my Mom, friends at work.   Almost all are addicted.  I must have some evil side to me to pull them into this silly game.  Now my sister is only pretending to play and I get that.  She's nice like that.  She doesn't have time for it (and I SEE HER NOT PLANTING ANY CROPS so I'm onto her...) but just the fact that she keeps the game going is sweet.  Hello, Sis, Mom is passing you up in the there no competitive nature in you? 

My mom on the other hand is totally addicted.  I saw that she was on 2 hours before I was up at 5:30 this morning.  Uh, need SLEEP too.   I promise the animals won't die if you don't feed them in the middle of the night.  I see where I get my obsessive compulsive brain.  8-) (And I mean that in the nicest way, Mom.)

Today is a much better day than yesterday.  No deep thoughts (as you can see) flying around my widdle brain.  I should be able to focus on work today. 

Today is going to be a good day!!  And look outside....the rain just quit!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Things That Change Us

I was thinking about my grandmother this morning.

What would she think of our world today?  (So many technology distractions that pull us away from reality...)

I always got the impression that she felt TV was a sin and a big waste of time.  What would she think about it now?   TV has changed so much, due to lack of censorship, that my husband and I don't even subscribe to cable anymore.  If my grandmother were alive today, the commercials alone would embarrass her.

She lived a very simple and God centered life.  She worked hard all her life but she knew how to laugh and have fun.  She had a good balance to her life, I think.  Now you have to realize that I am looking back at her from probably 38 + years ago.  I had a child's view and our world was so different then.

She was always trying to make us into better people.  She read us the Bible and insisted we go to church.  She sent us after 'switches' when we were errant.  She also told us wonderful scary stories about ghosts...supposedly true stories she had experienced.  I have loved science fiction all my life and I think it is because of these stories.  She had these 'sayings' she would preach to us such as "Things that you do, do with your might, things done by halves are never done right."  I don't know the times I took out stitches in something I was sewing that wasn't just perfect or rewrote a paper for school because I knew I wasn't living up to my potential.  At what point did trying to be 'perfect' take over my life? 

We influence those in our lives in many ways that we probably don't even realize.  When faced with our own mortality, don't we find ourselves wondering if we've made any difference in the lives around us?  Do we change because we wonder this? 

Well...that was all too deep...see what 'crashing' puts on my