Antique Treasures

It started when the Imp needed a table for her room. Thinking outside the box, she found a sewing machine that folded under to make a lovely wood table for her typewriter. The sewing machine mechanism had seized, so she was able to get the table/machine combo for a great price. Hubby tinkered with the machine and had it oiled, cleaned, and running in less than 4 hours. This will be something that she can pass down to her children. The machine is close to 100 yrs old!

With that victory, hubby set out to find me a machine. (I wanted a treadle, not electric.) The hunt began. Combing through Craigslist and estate sales, we spent our weekends wandering through antique warehouses. Hubby found a machine without a treadle cabinet. He cleaned it and got it working again. We planned to put a hand crank on it until we could find the cabinet.

Instead, he came home from a Craigslist adventure with a cabinet and another machine to use for parts.

The wrought iron was in good shape, so he added the color details I asked for.

Then he stripped and cleaned the wood, repairing the laminated edges. After that, he stained and oiled the wood until the grain pattern popped.

We aren’t done with the drawers yet. He is planning to do some wood repairs and then clean and stain them, but it looks so much better, already!

I’ve repaired 2 leather purses, hemmed 2 karate uniforms (tops and pants), and re-seamed a couple t-shirts. It is so cool to sew on something that was new over a hundred years ago!

Now we are looking for the perfect chair to go with it!

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Catching UP

Health: I am totally healed and feeling awesome! I didn’t realize how very sick I had been, because it happened slowly (I had been perpetually sick for over 6 months). What a difference!

Homeschooling: Crazy few months of getting loose ends tied up for graduation and the paperwork in order for college….but, We did it! Insert happy-mom-dancing here. 🙂

The Sarge is officially graduated. He worked really hard and is now enjoying his free time (when he isn’t working, teaching himself Blender, or writing his book) before he starts college.

Driver’s Training: The Gremlin is still working through his driver’s ed course. We are now out on the roads with him. No incidents to report. We set down rules for the road and made it abundantly clear that if I started catching attitude, I would kick him out of the driver’s seat and drive his sorry-self home and be DONE. Things got much better after that. He actually impressed me with his driving so far. Great perception of spacial distances.

Lessons: We pretty much dropped out of Karate when I had surgery. I am finally to the point where I can spar again, so we will be returning for ninja training.

The Imp has been looking for a voice teacher that will work with her in opera and other languages and we finally found one! She is to start lessons today.

The Gremlin overheard her instructor saying how she preferred to work with opera, show tunes, and older music (Frank Sinatra, Glen Miller, etc..) but that most of her students only wanted to learn trendy pop songs and worship music. The Gremlin LOVES 1940’s music and is asking if HE can take voice, too. This will be the year of music for him, since he will be starting guitar in the fall.

Co-op: Still working on co-op classes and ramping up for registrations soon. I’ve been praying about what direction we should be going this year and am not getting anything specific, yet. In the mean-time, we are continuing to push everything forward and keep it similar to last year’s focus of building community and a support structure within the group. We will do this until God gives a new direction.

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Challenges of Healing at Home

Sleep has become the bane of my existence. It is something I am supposed to be getting a lot of to aid in healing. Let me explain what the 1st few nights after coming home from the hospital look like. …

Exhausted, I head to bed. I look dauntingly at my bed. It is flat. My tummy can not lay totally flat without pulling on my incisions. I begin to pile up pillows to exact the right amount of tilt to let my tummy stretch a little, but not cause a searing burn at the site. Once this is completed, I carefully navigate my awkwardly swollen self to settle gently onto the mini mountain of pillows.

I spend the next four minutes trying to catch my breath and trying to relax enough, so that I can tell if the pillows are in the right spots. Breathing settled, I lay perfectly still so that I don’t slide off the pillow mounds.

No matter how still I lay, the pillows begin to settle and my body slides to one side of the mounds. I lay there debating if this is a good stretch or a bad pull on my incision. As I lay there, I begin to tick off the minutes that I can probably stay in this position before I herniate my surgery site.

Then the pillows shift more. This drops my head and breathing begins to become difficult because of all the fluids still pushing up on my lungs and heart. I ponder this for a second or two, as my panic level reaches a new high. I am convinced I cannot breathe and my heart begins to race.

I shift to roll to a sitting position. This causes a new stab of pain to suck the air right out of me. My chest is now on fire with lack of oxygen. My bed has no headboard to grab hold of. My hands claw desperately at the wall finding no hold to help me pull up to sitting. I flail more. I have now slid flat on my back, my incisions pulling uncomfortably. I work to control my breathing and calm down.

The fact that I am stuck like a turtle on my back does not escape me. I hate this feeling of helplessness. I finally get Hubby to wake up enough to help me pull to a sitting position. He scratches his head confused as I gulp in oxygen from the edge of the bed in a highly agitated state of frustration, embarrassment, and panic.

I move to the couch. I don’t get turtled on the couch. I prop up my pillows and sleep upright for several hours. My back aches, but I can breathe. I don’t have to depend on someone to rescue me like I do in my bed. I keep my cell phone on the couch, in case I get into trouble and need help. The couch is lonely. The dog joins me on the couch. I pet his ears and talk to him. He wags his tail and believes it is time to get up. I begin to drift to sleep again. He pads over to the door and gives a soft,”woof” to go outside. I am not allowed to take him outside. If he runs on his leash, I will pull something. I try to calculate the likelihood of this, but remember promising Hubby I would not try to walk the dog. The dog gets more insistent. Now I have to wake someone else up to walk the dog….at 2am…..because I got turtled in my bed. sigh.

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I’m Fine…..Not so Fine…..

About a week ago, I woke up at 1 am with REALLY bad cramps. The kind that have you hanging off your headboard panting like you are about to deliver a baby. I took Aleve and slept until the point where I must have tried to move or roll over. This took abdominal pain to a whole new level.

Hubby was out of town on business. The in-laws were across the house sleeping. Kids were not up yet. I panted and sobbed from my bed cursing the genes that gave me wicked menstrual cycles and trying not to throw up during the waves of pain. An alarm went off in the house. The Sarge eventually made his way to within earshot. He took in the situation and woke the in-laws.

By 6:30am I was dry-heaving on my way to urgent care. They ran several tests and off-roaded me ambulanced me to their downtown location to wait for a doctor to remove my appendix. Sometime during the wait, it burst. I remember waking up drugged out of my mind and in a whole lot of pain. Pain, that in my mind should have been removed with the offending body part.

The next few days were a blur of antibiotics, throwing up, pain meds, and kind faced nurses that always looked worried. I threw up for 3 days.

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Random Musings

All sorts of things going on….

The Imp did her Karate belt test, last week and is now a green belt.
Sarge and I have a bit before we can belt up. The Gremlin should be ready to advance again by the next testing date.

The Homeschool Co-op is humming along. We have 49 families and about 100 kids involved. There is some shifting during the first 3 weeks of the semester, so we don’t have a final count yet, but it will be close. No major upsets, so far…..just lots of quirks to navigate and smooth out when you get that many folks together that are non conformers. 🙂

The Imp dropped lyrical ballet for a computer class in co-op. We were surprised because she LOVES all things dance. She made the jump when she realized the 3D Animation teacher would be graduating this year. (She can always go back to Lyrical next semester, if she chooses.) The Sarge took the class and has devoted many hours to create and animate items and creatures for his book. The Gremlin just started taking 3D this semester, the Imp watched what they were doing and decided to join him. Now we have 3 rendering and animating and discussing how to best “rig” their creations. The Sarge wants to take more classes on animating in college and possibly do something with it as his minor.

All 3 of the kids are LOVING the contra dance class. It has been a big hit with the teens and we expect it to grow next year. We’ve already had a few of the moms rotate in as helpers and show interest in joining in with the teens, for fun. We may consider offering a few more mom classes next year, as well.

We have a field trip with the “Graduating Seniors and siblings” to go ice skating at an indoor rink, this week. My kids have never been ice skating. They were all too little to do much more than boot-sliding when we lived up north. This should be fun to watch and take blackmail photos photos with their friends. I expect several epic falls and crashes, with much giggling and mayhem.

Our little church, finally found a pastor! He seems like a good fit and we are looking forward to hearing more from him and meeting his wife and family. I like the direction they are leading the church and he seems to be able to handle the varied needs of a small-town, rural church. Exciting times!

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On Health & Doctors

Knowing your “norms”. I’m a full believer that we should know our normals health-wise. I know mine and can usually tell when something is off.

Several months ago, I went to the doctor and let him know things were off. I had lost some weight, my thyroid meds did not feel right. He did a blood test to check ONE thing. (Normally, my doctors run a full panel to determine what is going on, this one couldn’t be bothered.)

Based on his one-number test, I was patted on the head and told that this was my new norm, “Welcome to pre-menopause, it may last for 7-10 years!” He offered to send me to a specialist to balance “those pesky hormones”. Grrr.

Unconvinced, I started keeping track of things more closely. Symptoms did not fluctuate with cycles. I wasn’t experiencing most of the pre-menopausal symptoms. Most of my issues fell back into the category of my thyroid meds being off. I tried to adjust to my new norm…..But it was getting worse. This was not a “norm”, something was definitely off.

Fast forward to just after Christmas. After having been sick for over 1 month, I went in and saw a different doctor. Again, I revisited that things were off and I did not think that I was pre-menopausal. She ordered a full panel of tests and discovered that this is NOT my new norm.

My labs were all over the place and my numbers show that it has been this way for several months…. in 3 different areas. She adjusted my thyroid medication and is working to get me dialed in again. I started to feel better in just a few days and even though I am swinging back and forth while I adjust to new levels (normal vs. Energizer Bunny with insomnia) most of the “new norm” symptoms are completely gone. It is such a relief to have “me” back!

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Lost a Buddy

Grumpy Cat hunts The Bean

Grumpy Cat hunts The Bean

Grumpy Cat, as the vets have nick-named him, has been sleeping more but seemed to do much better on his medicine. He was even less…. grumpy. Yesterday he was playing with his chase-stick and came to each of us for pets. He chased the dog and was in good spirits.

This morning, he didn’t come to his food dish. We found him curled up peacefully in his favorite chair. He must have passed during the night. The day we brought him home from the dog pound, The Sarge was about 3 and the Gremlin was a baby. We had a jeep with no doors or top on it, the kids were strapped into car seats in the back. I held our pound-puppy on my lap and Grumpy Cat was small enough to fit into a pet carrier that sat between the two babies in back. He has been a part of our family for 15 yrs. He and the kids grew up together. We will miss him.

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