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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

.... a renovation treat at the midway point

.... it is the second week in January and the first week on the renovation project with our contractor and friend Jeremy. He has done all of our work in what is now our second house and we trust him implicitly. Today though, I am sitting in a tremendous draft and not liking it so I now must crank up the heat. The massive mirror that was glued to the face of the fireplace with bulldog glue needed very little persuasion with the garden hoe to come down in its entirety and strike the covered floor and smashing into thousands of pieces much to the shock of the one using the tool. In my estimation, the whole house moved and I was relieved to hear him yelling up the stairs that he was fine. The mirror was a 5' x 6' piece and horribly heavy.... which is why after seeing Lydia sitting on the floor under it watching TV last week made us decide to do the job immediately and now I know my instincts were bang on. No renovation job comes without an additional hitch... this one came in the way of a cold air draft which cooled most of the house despite the best efforts of the furnace.

Jeremy managed to pull the fireplace out and disconnect it only to find that the previous owner, like all the DiY jobs that he had done (and cut many corners doing) had struck once again. The interior fire brick had been excavated out to the outer brick layer and a quick look at the cracked mortar and the wind whistling through it told us where our cold air was coming from. We are now pricing the task as we go these days!!! He will be parging the interior of the bricks in order to quell the flow of air into our house. This now means that I will be hiring someone to re-install the gas insert if it meets spec sometime next week.... if I can get someone in that soon. I am praying that the lottery group at work wins us some big bucks!!!!

I am feeling more like myself and although I was able to go with Max to purchase the speaker wire at Rona, I had to supervise the installation - he did a great job and I ordered 2' extra without measuring ..... feels great knowing that I still have it!!

Despite the amended changes to the face of the fireplace - it has been wired for power and video cables for the new flat screen that we purchased. We also have power outlets installed on either side of the fireplace for the multimedia cabinets that will come sometime down the road. The fireplace is not in good condition and is very inefficient, so it too will be replaced this week (January 11-15) by a fireplace specialist. The projected costs of the project have exceeded what we had initially anticipated. It essentially amounts to the vacation that we were unable to take this past year that we had budgeted for. The kids managed to help Max paint the room with the paint I had bought last year for our bedroom. I helped out when I could and the results are nothing short of truly wonderful. It has given me renewed energy and strength and I look forward to planning out another project for later this year..... bathrooms perhaps. Our house is like my journey - always making changes and expecting a great outcome!!

Saturday 9th January

I walk down the steps into the family room and realize that my ankle is aching. The nurse had come on Wednesday to check my blood pressure and inspected the small wound on my right ankle which I managed to get the week before on my walk with Max - boot rub. It looked fine then but when I took off the band-aid she recommended I put on with antibiotic cream, I was shocked to discover that the red ring around it and a sensitive ankle meant only one thing - infection. I asked Max to fill out a standing prescription my doctor had given me to fill in case of emergency..... this seemed like a great time on a late Saturday afternoon to do such a thing and then get to the emergency room when we could. As it was, we got to Emergency at 9 pm and waited until 11:30 to see a physician after being segregated into an isolation room with Max. He tried to get comfortable in the chair provided in the room while I tried to rest my eyes... I am normally in bed early in the evening. Fortunately my blood test checked out good for my immune system but it needed some immediate help which came in the form of an antibiotic drip. We finally got to leave at 1:03 am. I am to continue the oral antibiotics I started taking prior to arriving and remain eternally grateful to a very smart doctor!!

I consider myself fortunate - the lady across the aisle from me in the other isolation room was informed that her immune system had taken a nosedive and was registering 0.... this of course means that she cannot fight any infection or cold that she may contract. All personnel going into the room must gown and mask up in order to enter..... so when she started calling for a nurse because she had to pee and couldn't get out of bed - she wasn't able to hold it in long enough for the nurse to gown and mask up and run in with a bed pan. According to the conversation in the hall outside our rooms.... her last chemo was at the end of November and I wonder how it is that her system could just drop out like that?! Again, I am grateful for the Neulasta shot, without which I would have had an overnight stay at the hospital to try and fight off the infection. We were both in the Adult emergency and not in the Oncology emergency.

I was ecstatic to be allowed to go home and we dropped into McDonald's on our way home.... Max pulled out his happy meal toy - a girl chipmunk who says 'it's so beautiful' and we just laughed all the way home. I love you Max, thanks for the date.... perhaps we'll do dinner and a movie next time?!

Sunday 10th January

A long anticipated arrival of my in-laws and what a great visit!!! I love my in-laws sooooooooo much and am so in awe of the lovely Christmas gift they have brought for me - a small wooden Christmas tree complete with teeny tiny decorations from Germany when they had visited there earlier in 2009. Lydia received a beautifully hand crochet blanket that Mom had made herself. Thank you so much for coming to visit, we love you so much and look forward to some pool time with you both!! xoxoxo

I am very tired today and need to nap when they head back home. Max has a hard time waking me up but I manage to crawl out of bed 4 hours later at 8 pm. I ate a little bit but am still really tired. I should have no problem going back to sleep.

I want to thank my mother for the lovely angel she has sent me in the mail and for the steady stream of cards as she tries to maintain a more personal contact from a distance. She is having a hard time emotionally with my illness and we have talked on the phone quite a bit over the past few months. My father is quiet but I know he is worried so we talk about stuff - usually a blend of engineering, main news headlines.... anything but what I am dealing with - he is slowly losing his faculties and can't really remember what we talked about anyway... he is just happy to hear my voice. Perhaps we will make it out this summer for a visit. This year is also a wait and see attitude.

Wellspring - in Art Therapy this week I mentioned to the ladies that Gwen had been on my mind for the past month and that I was worried about her. Wanda (our facilitator) mentioned making a card for her and we all jumped at the opportunity to write a little note personalized with our fingerprint in the acrylic paints we were using - great idea Kim. Wanda drew a single fir tree on the front (Gwen loves all trees and it is what you will find her painting at every chance she gets) with 5 red cardinals all flying up to land on the branches. With Wanda's characteristic giggle she shows us the completed drawing and promises to mail it off as soon as possible through the organization - they will know what address to send it to. Yoga this week brought lots of hugs and smiles from the girls and a great cup of tea afterwards. Valerie (our instructor) gives me a hug and is astonished that I am well enough to join the group this week - she is so amazing and it could be a full week of the worst weather imaginable but Yoga Day is the day the sun almost always shines!!!

Thank you to Sandra Moyer who came for lunch on Friday!! It is always great seeing you and your smiling face. I miss you so much. xoxo

I am looking forward to this week - it is a week to tidy up details for our adult party at work, the family room being finished and a week to complete all unfinished knitting projects before chemo on the 19th..... only 2 more left!!! Wishing everyone a week of laughter and good times. Let those around you know how much you care and do a random act of kindness. xoxo

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