Sunday, September 27, 2009

Feels a Little Fallish Today

Looks like fall has arrived just when expected. Of course around here that doesn't mean much. It could still snow on Halloween or be 80 degrees, but it was sure my kind of weather out there today.
I spent the day with Kaye. She is making progress day by day, but still hasn't recovered the strength she had. So far it appears the antibiotic is keeping the Klebsillia infection arrested.
She really had a good appetite today and ate the most I've seen her eat. I had her help me fix the cornbread. Pete commented that I always thought of things to do with her that he never thinks of. I reminded him that number one, he has a lot of the other things on his mind, and number two, it's what I'm in the habit of doing with grandkids and a classroom. While he'd get out of sorts if the cornmeal went flying, I'd just sweep it up and move on.
Kaye reminds me of a child of three or four. She is very aware of all that's going on around her in some ways, also very stubborn. Pete, naturally enough, is her security blanket, and she is not happy when she doesn't have his attention. For instance, today she wanted the bathroom cleaned, though she hasn't darkened the door of that bathroom in six months. So, Pete proceeds to clean the bathroom, then she is mad at him for doing something she can't be a part of. She goes from laughing to sobbing in a heartbeat. Twice this week she had in her mind that I was coming and ended up in tears because I didn't show. So, even though she wants me there, she still wants Pete there too. Pete needed to start her back on her allergy shots today and she cried and cried over that as well. So, that's where she's at.
Mom still has a very scary cough though she is better. We got a sad report from the doctor that she has what they refer to as "Old Brain,"- ya think., I mean, won't we all if we live to be old. Anyway, she has hardening of the arteries, her renal function is slowing and dementia is progressing. Ahhh, bless her heart. Her birthday is Thursday. She will be 81.
My little Bugg celebrated her third birthday on Saturday with a cupcake party. She looked so adorable in her little pink dress with a cupcake on the front. My sweet girl.
Rae Rae and Micahael with a lot of help from family and friends, finally got moved into their new place. Hooray!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Hand to Hold

I remember a time, vaguely, when I thought thirty was so very old. Today, I've been married thirty years. Wow, that is a long time.
I'm appreciative of the example our parents set of commitment. I now recall talking to Handy Man early on about my desire for a marriage to be more than just commitment. I wanted it to be a happy place too. Lots of times it wasn't. I'd challenge you to find two people with more opposite personalities than Handy Man and me. One trait we both shared, thankfully, was a heartfelt desire to do right and to try to find the answers to hard problems. We stumbled on (after much prayer) a technique that's worked very well. We both really try hard to outlove the other one. It works so well because the more one tries, the more the other tries and the result is a whole lotta love. I know how blessed I am, because I've sadly watched as one person in a marriage has tried that, without any help from the other person, and the love eventually runs dry.

I love his hands. I always have. With his hands, Handy Man takes a cherry tree and fashions a cradle to rock our sweet babies (so many cradles now I've lost count). With his hands, he turns scraps of wood into chicken roosts and builds Cluckingham Palace so I can have chickens. With his hands, he tills a spot for my tomatoes. With his hands, he retrieves a dead bird carcas from my bluebird house, so I don't have to. With his hands, he pats his children's backs, moves their furniture, and fixes what is broke at their house, though he never learned to do it from his father. With his hands, he replaces millions of batteries for more toys for grandkids than we had for our own. With his hands, he beats me to the draw and already has the bottle warm so he can rock the baby. With his hands, he has faithfully fashioned steel into molds and kept us warm, dry and fed. With his hands, he is faithful to wipe my tears, rub my back, and make me feel like all is right with my world, no small task. His hands are strong and so much bigger than mine and when I slip my hand in his I feel safe. I do that a lot. Often, I fall asleep, holding his hand.
The Lord was certainly merciful to me, in this helpmate my brother brought home that I fell in love with thirty four years ago this month. I am so very grateful and even more in love.
Happy Anniversary to Us!!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Stormy Sunday

I remember exactly where I was this time last year on this particular Sunday. I had gone early Sunday morning to see my aunt and uncle after my cousin, their son, had passed away. While I was there, I got the call that Buttercup's mom was in labor, so sister Susie and I packed it up and headed home. About this time of the evening Buttercup was born. It is always miraculous to me.
Today we celebrated.
Happy 1st Birthday Buttercup!

1st Lt is taking over command of a new post in INDY and was out of town this weekend for the changing of the guard. Ceece had to shoot a wedding, so Handy Man and I entertained Bugg and Bean.
I guess Bean has no memory of ever wearing anything sleeveless. This week his Oma bought him a shirt with a way cool dinosaur on the front, but alas, no sleeves. When he put it on, he told his mom, "Isn't this kind of inappropriate, having your arm pits stick out?" Ha, ha, ha, cracked me up.
Later, while Bugg and Pap were doing some very serious shopping with Bugg's new birthday cash register, Bean whispered in my ear, "Will you take me out to swing?" We snuck out unnoticed. This is necessary because the beloved baby dolphin swing is still a hot commodity at Gramerly and Pap's house. Bean is bright enough to know, if Bugg knew, she'd want to swing and his time would be shortened accordingly. First of all, I can't believe he can still fold his five year old self into that swing. Secondly, I noticed he must have grown a foot since school started, because two more inches and his feet will drag the ground. How, in the wide world, did he get so big so fast?
Bean too, still calls for a song or two or ten, during each swing session. He told me this summer that he was over that baby Twinkle, Twinkle song. So I sang:
Twinkle, twinkle, little Bean,
Cutest boy I've ever seen,
With his armpits sticking out,
He's the best and there's no doubt,
Twinkle, twinkle, little Bean,
Cutest boy I've ever seen.
He laughed so hard, I thought he would fall out of the swing. I remembered when he first started that belly laughing. It remains some of sweetest sounds I know.
No worries, Bugg went two rounds in the swing before the day was done.
I wouldn't mind having a hundred dollars for every hour I've pushed that swing these past five years. I'd take a long vacation. But, each swinging time is a mini vacation for me and the gramerlings, and I'd pay to get to do it if I had to.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mystery Solved at Cluckingham Palace

Our chickie girl coop is a an outbuilding that sits behind our garage of which most folks were unaware even existed. Handy Man cleaned it out and moved all of his wood and stuff to the back end and fixed up the front end for the girls. In order to keep the chickies from pooping all over the wood, he built a wall with chicken wire to divide the room. It went from floor to about a foot and a half from the ceiling,and left at little triangle space open at the top.
Well, recently while I was observing the coop, I noticed the chicken wire at the top was bent. I immediately brought this to Handy Man's attention for fear a varmint had gotten in there and tried to climb in the coop. Handy Man said, "No, Snow Queen was perched up there, she didn't stay long, she didn't like it much." "I'm going to have to finish off that top piece."
Wednesday night, Handy Man Pappy was out with 1st Lt and Bean and Bugg feeding scraps to the girls. He comes in the back door and says, "One of the little silver girls is gone."
I knew he would never, ever risk my running around like a chicken with my head cut off, hysterical, if he hadn't looked really, really well, which made me feel a little hysterical right off the bat.
I went out to join them in the search. Jetta is an Andalusian. I chose those because they are said to be friendly and excellent foragers-bug exterminators. What I didn't realize, is they are also smaller bodied, so they fly better. Jetta's sister, Black Thermostat, is in love with Handy Man. As soon as he parks his fanny in the yard, she flies to his arm. The second he strokes a feather she settles right in for some serious attention- I digress. Anyway, I wasn't at all surprised to know it was Jetta. I got a rake and swept through the underbrush all around the coop. 1st Lt. brought out his crazy dog and my guess was, Jetta flew out of the chickie yard and was terrified by Gracee and was hiding. There are no really independent chickies. Even when they find themselves out of the yard, they walk up and down the fence and squawk until we save them. No Jetta.
Now I'm feeling a little teary and I know a chicken hawk or neighborhood dog has taken her.
In retrospect, what turns out to be most interesting to me is the rooster's behavior. You know chickies have this rotund body and a wee head, which indicates a wee brain and aren't considered to be in the running with earth's brightest creatures, however the Silver Wyndotte Big Cat Daddy knew one of his girls was gone. Every chickie girl was on the roost, except him and he walked the floor and made this sort of low moaning sound.
I just walked around with him hoping I might hear Jetta somewhere. Finally, I gave it up, shut the first door and watched to see if he would get on the roost- no. As I turned to walk away I heard a different sound, looked back and there she was on the other side of the chicken wire. The rooster looks at her, climbs up on the roost. She had been hiding in the wood.
So, Handy Man goes in after her and she tries to hide again, and now she's ruffled Handy Man's feathers, so he pulls her out by her feet and you have never heard such screaming in your life, which in turns sets off the whole coop in cacophony of clucking and poor rooster has to get back down. I take her and try to soothe her and put her back in the coop, where the rooster nails her then calmly goes back to roost.
Gee- it's a soap opera in the chicken coop, however there is no more space at the top of the dividing wall.
Stay tuned for the next installment: What fowl has Arwen fallen in with?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Half Century-Wow!

I guess I'm a real farmer now. Handy Man made me an egg box for when the girls start laying. We thought perhaps they'd surprise us with an egg in honor of my birthday, but no such luck. I now have an egg box, and ovie-alls, shovel and gloves for coop cleaning.
I enjoyed a wonderful birthday with lots of fun surprises and sweet cards and nearly as many pairs of cool socks as I am old. It was a very happy day.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Weekends, How Do I Love Thee

I do love lazy weekends. I forget how much when it's been awhile.

Handy Man was on vacation last week, so he brought the chicken tractor to school and I brought four of the chickens, including Little Red Hen (formerly-Pasty Butt). The day before, I made wheat bread with my students. I got a box of books from the library on chicken stories of all makes and models. Our littlest buddies from pre-school and pre-K came to visit. First I read the story of Little Red Hen, then we shared the wheat bread. Next, the kidlets got to pet Little Red Hen, her reddest self. Lastly, my big kids read books about chickens to the wee ones. It was a big time!

Friday night, Drummer son brought Buttercup for a visit. My, it's been almost a year since her arrival. She is walking and saying lots of words and very curious and busy. Of course we spent time in the swing and she loved How Much is that Doggy in the Window-particularly the "arf, arf," part that made her laugh out loud. She enjoyed visiting the chickie girls and feeding them wool sorrel, the creek, and the grass. As usual, we listened to her Drum Circle CD, and beat and banged on stuff and danced a happy tune. She has absolutely hysterical expressions that are quite entertaining to the Handy Man Pappy and I.

This was supposed to have been a very busy weekend, moving Rae Rae and Michael to their first new home, but closing was post-poned. Handy Man and I headed out early for the Farmer's Market. As wonderful as all that beautiful fresh produce is, it's also great socializing with friends you meet. Then we had breakfast out.

I stopped by a neighborhood yard sale, as my students have dismantled all the printers, jam boxes and telephones available. I snagged a radio clock for a buck. My kids will be thrilled. Who can resist books for a quarter, so I got a sack of those as well. Then I proceeded to sit on the porch and read the afternoon away.

Rae Rae and Michael, all packed up and nowhere to go, decided they might as well do their last laundering at Mom and Dad's and pulled in about 1:30. I pulled out all that fresh produce, including a handful of freshly dug potatoes off the side porch and cooked fried corn, green beans and potatoes and cumcumbers in sweet vinegar.

I so love that my daughter and her new hubby are content to just hang out. They brought their current books, along with one new hubby picked up for the FIL (isn't that so cool) and we just all sat and read until dinner was ready. Well, you know, dinner didn't exactly fix itself, but it was read, check on the corn, read, check on the beans-you get the idea. Dinner was so delicious.

As evening was approaching, Handy Man and I headed out to O'Bannon Woods to visit 1st LT., who had taken Bean and Bugg camping. I took a new book a dear friend bought the poopies, and a kit I picked up at Big Lots for $2 with all need materials to create four little pom-pom woodland critters (seemed appropriate). I think camping is the very bestest of life for little ones. You are expected to be dirty and rambunctious.

Bean wanted to start a little skunk critter right away. For a minute or two, Bugg was happy to watch, but discontentment, at not finding her place at the center of Gramerly's world, set in. We finished the skunk, then Bugg declared that she needed to go to the potty. Of course, I was the only who would work, because she wanted to go in the "girl" one. Off we headed down the lane, Bugg on my hip. I noticed that there wasn't much tinkling in the "girl" potty, for one in such a hurry to head out. Then, on the way back, it was imperative to examine all mosses and lichens and to determine the source of each fallen leaf and to collect a variety of nature. All brown crunchy leaves became instruments of early autumn music. It didn't take long for me to figure out what a clever girl to know exactly how to return to her correct position in my world.

This morning, it's time to clean the hen house. Ahhhhh.
What do you like to do on long weekends?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Movin' On Up

Kaye has improved drastically in a few short days, at least in the cognitive ability department. I don't know what it is about taking someone out of what's not familiar(the hospital),then going back to what is known, but the change in her was amazing. She was sitting at the table when I came in. She asked for and ate a couple of bites of chicken and fed herself some bread and managed her drink fine. She noticed everything, and I could understand a lot of what she said.
I said, "Hey, what is up with you. On Saturday you weren't doing anything at all."
She said quite emphatically, "I was sick." I said, "Well you surely made a miraculous recovery."
She still is very weak and can't help much at all in being moved around. Pete decided, after having to move her from the bed to wheel chair, to restroom, to car, out of car etc, eighteen times on Monday, one of which left her sitting in the parking lot (on the ground), to get a van with a lift. Handy Man and 1st Lt. went and saved them on Monday. Handy Man went back today to help Pete get her to dialysis, then Pete was going to get the van.
Pete was trying to justify his need for the van to me. I told him he didn't need to explain himself to me. I would be much happier knowing he had some help. I just couldn't imagine how much longer he would hold out physically. I was waiting for a call from the emergency room that one or the other of them was hurt bad from a tumble. Hallelujah for vans with lifts.
Someone else moved her while he first went to look at the van on Tuesday and Pete thinks she broke a rib. She moaned and cried every time we moved her last night. Handy Man said she winced today, but didn't cry out. So I rejoice in her improvement, and I cry all the way home over her helplessness. Some days a diamond, some days a stone, some days I can't tell the difference.

Mom still doesn't sound too good. It takes so long for her to get over these lung ordeals.

I picked up Bean and Bugg today. It always amazes me how little it takes to entertain wee ones. Bean said he'd heard of people using pots and pans and spoons for instruments and he wanted to try it. So, we enjoyed quite the spontaneous, rousing drum ensemble from the two of them with intermittent dancing and song.

My current favorite Bugg story. Bugg asked her daddy his favorite color-over and over and over. Finally, after running low on color choices, 1st Lt. said, "Turkey!" Bugg said, "Daaaaad, turkey is not a color, turkey is a Lunchable."
Gramerly said, "She is her mother's child."

Well, Handy Man Pappy has been home all week spoiling the chickie girls rotten. He is trying to butter them up to lay eggs earlier. What he doesn't realize is they will be totally depressed next week and wonder what happened. Poor girls.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Harvest Time

In the spring, Uncle Jimi provided Bugg and Bean with some indian corn seed. Bugg enjoyed planting slowly and meticulously, all of her seed in one spot.

Bean however, chose to plant his all in a row.

Interestingly, the yield was about the same.

It has been fun to watch as the corn has developed darker and darker colors as the it has dried. This week when they visit, we'll put a fall bow on a cluster for them to take to school for a decoration.

It was also time to discover what was in the big buckets we planted with wee pieces of potato and continued to fill with dirt as the green tops grew.

Bean dubbed these teeny ones as "Lil Bugg" potaoes and wanted three sacks for their haul. One for Bugg size, one for medium and one for big potatoes. They proceeded to dig and sort accordingly.
This one goes in the big sack.

The beautiful cool weather and an overnighter, called for an impromptu bonfire. Bugg enjoyed her s'more.

My beautiful blue-eyed Bean, picked some lovely wildflowers for me at our bonfire.
Mom came home Friday and is slowly improving. Kaye came home yesterday. It takes forever to get someone dismissed. The doctor changes the medication, then leaves, without leaving prescriptions or explanations. I got there at 9 and we were not home until 4.
It was deja vu when the doc said, "You need to stay on this IV antibiotic for 30 days." It was September 5. That's exactly what another doc said when he dismissed her on August 5 for the exact same thing, different antibiotic.
The bottom line isn't one favorable for Kaye. Very few brain waves are normal and it is unlikely they can eradicate this infection.
She is weak and getting her in her wheelchair and then the car, then back etc. is no small ordeal. It reminds me of when I try to move the soft blow-up kiddie pool full of water. I pray her strength returns soon, as I simply do not know how Pete can physically hold out moving her around all day and back and forth for dialysis.
It's amazing though how the brain works. When we brought her in and got her in bed, she had no idea where she was. I was very disheartened. By and by, David got up and went in to see her and then let the dogs in and by the time I left, just a few hours later, she was talking more and clearer and was more awake than I've seen her the past 12 days.
Pete and Tiff met with a Hosparus representative while we were still in the hospital on Saturday.
This doesn't really mean anything except exploring best options for Kaye.
Again, it was a sad time, but I'm always happy for her when she's home, worried for Pete, and always wishing him the comfort of knowing what is best.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

In Our Own Little Wing at the Hospital

Would that were so-no such luck. Mom and Kaye are both still in the hospital. Mom is somewhat better. She can walk some now. That gave her blood thinner when she went in, thinking it was her heart and she's coughed so hard she black and blue with bruises. She doesn't think she's better, but I thought she seemed a little more like herself. She has just about coughed herself to death. She's on steriods, then they gave her a sleeping pill that sent her right off the deep end. We don't have a tendency to respond properly to meds in this family.

Kaye was sleeping while I was there. I had to go to grocery and just got in the door when the phone rang. She woke up and I guess she must have heard me talking in her sleep and then proceeded to have a bad dream and was quite upset. So she told me all about it in her raspy, I'm weak and get enough air, pitiful voice. I only understood "some guy" out of the whole story. When I told her I was home and fine, she cried. I hate to have bad dreams, pray not to and seldom do, thank the Lord. It's interesting because last night I had a bad dream and it stays with me, like forever. I feel horrible that she's having these dreams and hallucinations and doesn't know reality from fiction. I can't understand why since that med she only took three times has to be out of her system by now and the infection is much better. This is day ten already. Have mercy!

I feel like the prayer beggar, but my family is feeling a little frayed, particularly the parties who've been primary caretakers of my Mom and Kaye. I really don't know anything else that will pull us through.