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|Posted on May 3, 2014 at 2:15 PM||comments (122)|
Baby chicks! My husband bought an incubator at the flea market. he tried it for the first time this year and it worked!
Same chicks, but now they are bigger.
Spring has come! We have had many spring days in the 60s and 70s. The daffodils have bloomed and now the Irises are starting to bloom. However, here in Oklahoma, nature never gives in easily…it snowed last week! And then had a late freeze and all our corn peeking up about four inches high…froze. The tips of many of the flowers froze as well. And the peach and pear trees were blooming during the freeze so that probably means no or little fruit.
The grass is greening up, though; leaves are growing on the trees, and even the air smells different. We have been doing a lot of work outside. We have a round garden with a large River Birch in it in the front of the house. We have tried different plants, but nothing has done well in that garden, so we decided to just turn it into a rock garden.
Actually, we have been down-sizing on the gardens in the past few years. I love my flowers and like to create flower arrangements, but I am simply tired of weeding. Time to have fewer gardens.
We also took out another garden in the backyard. There was a garden right next to the patio and we are building stairs up the balcony…the garden is now gone and there are stairs there. The plants were moved to a place where there is erosion, so that should help that area.
And I am so excited about the stairs. We have a balcony, but never use it because the only way to get to it is to go upstairs, into one of the bedrooms, and then out the door. That is not practical when we have company.
The balcony has a great view. It overlooks our property, out over the lake, and at night you see all the lights of Oklahoma City. It will be fun to use it.
We also extended the roof by the living room where our fireplace is. We stack wood there every winter and have to cover it with plastic to keep it dry. Now there is a roof. Yay! Another patio for the summer and protection in the winter.
We also brought manure and put it on the vegetable garden. Fito and the children planted strawberries (we lost all our plants in the drought), cabbage, potatoes, onions, corn, carrots, squash, and radishes. He has tomatoes and pepper plants inside to plant when it is a little warmer. (And a late freeze just killed almost all the corn).
He also built a zip line. We used to have one, but the tornado took the tree down. This new one is better. And he just put in permanent poles for volleyball. The older siblings have been coming two to three times a week to eat and to play games or volleyball. We have lots of fun and as the family grows, we have more volleyball players.
Ashley (Matthew’s wife) is expecting and they just found out that they are having a boy. They are so excited. I remember the excitement and joy that Fito and I felt with each pregnancy. There are so many hopes, dreams, and expectations with each one.
There is so much going on, that is why I had not blogged for so long. I hadn’t even made bread for about a month. Cooking had even been ignored (well…I only cooked about 4 times a week). But now I am back to my routine. Sunday, for Easter, I made a Spanish Turkey, a Ham, Mashed Potatoes, Spanish Rice, Beans, Peas, Salsa with Cilantro…there was sliced tomato and shredded lettuce, Spanish Cream, and I had chips, and Croissants, and Bolios (a type of bread…like a small sub).
This is the third time I have done a meal like this. That way if someone wants a traditional meal, they can have it, or if they want a Spanish meal, it is available as well, or if they want to make a turkey or ham sandwich (Bolios or Tortas), they can as well. This also allows me to feed more people with less money.
If you have “filler” foods, such as: chips and salsa, bread, vegetables, rice, and beans, then they eat less meat and you save money. It is actually healthier as well.
I made Apple- Coconut Bread today. I made 21 small loaves. I made the bread while the Geek Squad was here getting us Internet to the whole house. I have tried various routers, combinations of extenders and routers and have never been able to get the Internet to the far end of the house. I should have paid somebody a long time ago to do so.
Now, back to the balcony…have you ever noticed that when you start a project that many times another project evolves from the first project? Well…we finished the stair case up to the balcony and then realized that the door from the upstairs to the balcony was not closing properly.
It turned out that water had been pooling under the door and not only is the frame rotten, but the wood under the floor, under the doorframe, etc. now we have the door ribbed out, the framing ripped out and are going to have to put posts under the balcony while we rip out where it attaches to the house and replace all that wood. We also need to redo how the flashing was done as this created the problem in the first place.
(Sigh) It seems that just about every other project goes the same. You start to fix something and once you tear down a wall or move a cabinet, then you see something else that needs fixing. It used to really bother me, but now I realize that it is just a normal occurrence in the contracting/remodeling world. No house is perfect…time and weather will damagethings….so repair is a constant.
Have you noticed people are the same? We are always in need of repair? Relationships are always tricky and as you remove one wall, another problem or dilemma pops up? Welcome to life. Every single persons will have problems and trials; it is not that we have problems, but how we react to our problems that make us who we are.
It is my prayer that we may always react with courage and patience.
|Posted on April 18, 2014 at 10:40 PM||comments (100)|
In and out. That small phrase explains my life this past 6 weeks. First of all, my mom burned her feet and shins in the bathtub. We have 4 and ½ baths and plenty of people here all the time. Therefore, in order to have enough hot water, we keep the water tank on hot.
I have always taught the children to start with cold, add hot water and to always check the water before you get into it. However, my mom has become, I guess, as a two-year old. She never takes a bath on her own, but this day she went to take a bath by herself.
One of the children heard her yelling and ran to get me. By the time I got there from the other end of the house she was in 8 inches of hot water. I immediately turned off the hot, turned on the cold, and tried to hold her feet up into the cold water. (Still to this day, I do not know why in this moment, I did not pull the plug and empty the water.)
After a few moments, I pulled the plug, but kept the cold water on her. Then dried her off and she made it to the bed. Once at the bed with her feet up, I realized that they were not just first degree burns which they were on top. The bottom of her right foot and the heel of the left had blistered. I then called 911.
She ended up in the emergency room at the burn center. When I arrived at the hospital, it was a mad house. There were five ambulances lined up, people were in the hallways, it was a busy, busy, Friday night in the ER.
I waited more than an hour and a half before they even let me go to her. She hadn’t been admitted so she must have been in the ambulance waiting all that time. The whole night was a horrible example of our health care system. Over worked people, too little help, too many policies and procedures that make things worse.
The paramedics had gotten permission to give her a shot of morphine in the ambulance, but she had not received any other medication or care. It took several calls before I finally got her another shot of morphine, but then it made it itch and anxious. She kept pulling at her IV and the various wires attached to her. She scratched at her skin till it bled. She pulled out her IV.
For several hours I just stood by her bed just holding her hands. I finally looked around in cabinets, found some wash cloths, wrapped them around her hands, and taped them so she could not scratch and pull. At one point, I even taped them to the sides of the railings because a medication they gave her made her anxious and she kept trying to get out of bed.
She would throw her legs to one side and then I would put them back up. Her burns hadn’t even been dressed yet. When they did finally send someone to dress the burn, they rubbed t the cream directly on the skin. At home, I rub the cream onto a piece of gauze and then I gently put the gauze on the wound. That way it hurts much less.
Hospitals are also notorious (dumb, in my opinion) for not letting anyone have water…not even ice chips. I do not know how many times I have been with someone or myself a patient…laboring to have a baby, trying to heal after surgery, overcoming sickness…
All these things…the body needs water. Water heals. We are water. And yet they say no water. I would get paper towels, drench them in water, and let my mom suck the moisture out of them. I did this again and again. I wiped her face, her eyes, and her lips. Moisture is soothing. I have done the same with other people. I have even snuck water or apple juice in to patients. I have seen people immediately improve after having had life-saving water enter their system. An IV is not as effective as simply just drinking water.
(yes, I know that at certain times, a person cannot drink…but I am talking about their blanket policy that the second you enter their walls you cannot drink….just dumb…having a baby is like running a marathon.
Can you imagine telling a marathon runner to not drink water?
Well back to mom. Finally after eight hours in the ER, her wounds were dressed. Then I was told they would not admit her. An 82 year-old woman who walks with a walker. Both feet are burned and they are sending her home? Thanks to Obamacare and the cuts to Medicare. We then talked about moving her to a nursing home until she could walk again…
But I took mom out of a nursing home. I just couldn’t put her back into one, even if just for a short time. So at 4:00am, I call home about 10 times until I am able to wake up Fito and tell him to get things moved away from the back door, get her wheel chair, and be ready to help me get her out of the car.
Her nurse had tried all evening to help, he was just too busy to do much, but he did help me to get her into the car which was a very difficult task. It was even more difficult to get her out of the car and into bed. I thought for a while that we were going to have to call the fire department and have those men come and help us.
We finally made it and she immediately relaxed. She did so well once she was home and in her bed. It was the right decision.
The burns are almost healed. Just a little sloughing off of skin still going on. She has fallen down three times since coming home. One day, I had to call the firemen to come help me get her back up as none of the men were home. The third day she had been home, I found her taking a bath with all her clothes on and the dressings still on her feet.
She still is scratching though, and we have tried just about everything to keep her from scratching her skin. She scratches so much that she creates sores. Lately, though, I have been using diaper rash cream with cod liver oil. It has helped with the itchiness and the sores are healing as well.
She also developed a condition on her shin that is an auto-immune disease where huge blister form, weep, then leave large open sores.
Again, we have tried many things, but the diaper rash medicine seems to be helping. I have also started putting a lamp on it to dry out the sores.
I told the college I needed to cut back hours so I could stay home more and boy I did. I probably spend two to four hours more each day being with my mom than I did before. It just depends day to day. Some days she needs me more, some less.
We also have some projects going on. We added a staircase outside to the balcony and extended the roof behind the living room (so the wood for the fireplace is covered in the winter). This meant workers, trips to the store, questions, etc. I also had home-health care come to help with mom. Now we have workers coming and going throughout the week. (In and out).
I have felt more than overwhelmed many days. However, I must say that there is always a silver lining to every cloud. As I have spent more time with my mother, we have talked more than we have in years. As the workers have come and spent time with her, I have again been reminded of her pleasant nature and patience. May I be so pleasant is my wish as I age; to age graciously not only physically, but personality-wise as well.
|Posted on March 3, 2014 at 6:28 PM||comments (94)|
My goodness, my life has not slowed down since before Christmas. Christmas is always incredibly busy, but my family is growing each year and Christmas just becomes more and more work, but also more enjoyable, as we now have grandchildren. Little children are the best at Christmas. No one gets more excited than them.
Then after Christmas, we had Matthew and Ashley’s wedding. Then after the wedding, it took almost 2 weeks before I had everything borrowed; returned, everything cleaned, everything put away.
Then we found out we were going to Federal Civil Court. We had problems with our insurance company after the May 2011 tornado. They didn’t pay us for certain items. We had used a public adjuster and he said in all the years he had been doing claims that he had never seen a company do what they did with us.
He sent us to a lawyer, who said the same thing. He said he would send them a letter and that would be the end of it. We didn’t hear anything for almost a year, then it was…we will take a statement…
All this time, we are just expecting the insurance company to realize the mistake their employee made and just make things right. But that never happens and now we find ourselves in federal court.
I will blog about the whole ordeal another day, but suffice it to say that after one of the most stressful weeks ever, the jury rules in our favor, and finally this whole episode finally concludes.
The following week, I make plans to write and catch up on other things when a friend calls me and asks me to go to Laredo, Texas with her. Her husband was deported the week before to Mexico. She is a US citizen and they have been married for more than 5 years and have a little girl.
However, she was never able to do the paper work for her husband as he had been deported previously and was in the country illegally. But immigration won’t allow him to become legal so what in the world are they to do.
They paid several lawyers and tried and tried, but to no avail. They own two properties in OKC. They own their own businesses, hire workers, pay their taxes, etc. They do not drink or smoke, work hard, try to their best for their family and community.
I see this again and again. Immigration deports a hard working family man, but the single guy who has 4 or more DUI’s, has gotten into fights, has ties to gangs….somehow gets to stay…what a complete mess.
Well anyway, she wanted to drive his truck, trailer, and tools down to him in Mexico. He is a contractor and needs those things to make a living. She does taxes, so they talked and decided that she would work half the year here then go and live in Mexico the other half of the year. They plan to do so until things can be worked out.
And in a way, it might have worked out for the best, for he had been really worried about his aging parents and now he is with them and able to care for them.
We drove the 500 plus mile down to Laredo. It took 14 hours as it was the first time for her to drive pulling a trailer. The trailer was really loaded and therefore, we also went slower for that reason.
I could’ve driven it for her and let her drive my car, but I told her I would do the same with my children. As you do something new for the first time, and then realize you can do it, it gives you such a sense of accomplishment. Then you can add to your list; one more thing you are capable of, one more thing you know how to do.
We reached the border late in the day. Her husband met her there. She crossed the border, though I didn’t. I stayed at a hotel in Laredo. It was 83 degrees and it was so incredibly warm that when I got to the hotel I dived into the pool. It was surround by beautiful green gardens with flowers and the blue clear water looked so inviting after being in the car for 14 hours.
It was so cold, I could hardly breathe. I swam to the edge, pulled myself out and was immediately warmed by the hot air. I did feel refreshed, still, I could never be a polar bear swimmer…I do not like cold water at all.
My friend woke me up the next morning at 7:00am. I was expecting the paper work to take longer; nonetheless, she was at the border, ready to be picked up. Good thing I had showered the night before.
I got ready, picked her up, and we made it home in 10 hours (with me driving all the way).
I have gone to Mexico many times. I have been to Laredo, Matamoros, Ciudad Juarez, Tijuana, and Tampico. We used to go to Mexico every six months to pick up a cancer drug for my father that hadn’t been approved in the US.
This time was different. We haven’t gone to Mexico in more than 8 years and for good reason: kidnappings, human trafficking, ransoms, false imprisonment.
How is it that an American citizen is fearful while in her own country just simply because she is nearing the border? This shouldn’t happen. Our border needs to be secured.
I didn’t even feel safe until I was north of San Antonio (San Antonio’s crime rate is 115% higher than national.
Back home, tired and safe, and now cold weather and the stomach flu. We have passed this virus back and forth and have been living off popsicles, soda pop, and crackers.
We have four of the cousins here, so we have had fun even though we have taken turns being sick.
I do need to conclude in that although court was stressful; my husband is here beside me. And although I haven’t had any solid food in more than two days, my minds works, and I know my strong and healthy body will kick this illness. The cold will end. Spring will come. I have a beautiful family and live in a country where we still enjoy more security and freedom than just about anywhere else.
My Daffodils started blooming last week. They are currently covered in ice, but will endure, survive, and keep blooming, which reminds me of one of my favorite sayings:
Bloom Where You Are Planted.
The children and cousins enjoying the snow day, today. I know this isn't much snow, but the problem in Oklahoma is it starts raining, then while it is raining (with thunder and lightening) then it turns to sleet, ice pellets, and then snow. And ice is much different than snow when it comes to driving.
I sent Nick out to take a pic of the daffodils and this is what he did...