Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

One of my favorite holidays is here! The last couple weeks I've spent some time with my nieces and nephews getting geared up for today.

First up: Pumpking carving!

Working hard




And a couple of videos

That was a couple of weekends ago. I also made a Halloween village for the kids to have fun with and on Friday I took it over, with some pipe cleaner trees, and let them "haunt" the village with some cute stickers I found. It was a lot of fun!


Decorating in progress

Lili played in the sticker bowl
 Post haunting

 Spooky clock tower

This tree has a bat infestation

We had also planned to let them paint and decorate the back drop to complete the look, but Veronica was under the weather and painting is really her thing right now. So, we saved her some fun for when she's feeling better.

I hope you all have a fun and safe Halloween! Happy haunting!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Project 365, weeks 42 & 43

Week in pictures October 16-22 & October 23-29

Making applesauce!


Tiny Halloween village

 Fall berries

Unpollished and ready to be stuffed into socks

Big red barn

Peaches and cream


I finally conquered a box!


One hour later

Making Thanksgiving place cards

Halloween cards, ready to go

Late bloomer

Look! It's a spider!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The plot thickens

So, the dentist this morning...

I went. They xrayed and poked and prodded and examined and reviewed records from my other doctors.

He told me what he thought needed to be done to correct the damage from the crash.

I left there with an appointment to return tomorrow afternoon and an appointment for the periodontist this afternoon.

So what's my count now? Four oral appointments in one week? Yeah, that's about par for the course.

Oh. Em. Gee. I just want this to be over. How many times have I said that now?

The worst part of the appointment was finding out how long it actually takes to do an implant. It's a four to six month process. That's if everything goes smoothly. Also, he's afraid my bone isn't thick enough and they might have to do a bone graft to even be able to do the implant. How much time does that add until this whole process is done?

So, if you add that to the time I'm going to spend waiting for my settlement to be complete, best case scenario is that I'll be here for another 8 months. Worst case, maybe 12 months. That's a possible year that I could be separated from Andy. I'm NOT ok with that. I'm not ok with this accident putting that much more of a dent in our lives. It's cost us so much already and it's time for something to change.

I started wondering if it was really necessary for me to be here for the settlement, when all that really goes into it is a lot of paperwork and letter writing back and forth. Some phone calls will be necessary, but do I absolutely need to be here in person for all of that. Isn't that why I hired a lawyer? Isn't he my "stand in" for a lot of this stuff? So I called him and explained the situation and he said not to let this keep me from moving with Andy.

Based on that advice, I'm moving with Andy to Colorado instead of staying here. I will still return to complete my treatment after the settlement is finalized, but I can handle that. I prefer it that way. I could find new doctors in Colorado, but everyone here already knows my history. And as I found out today in the exam room, I still can't talk about the aftermath of the accident without crying. I just can't do that again, over and over, until a whole team of new doctors is filled in on my circumstances.

So, a week from Saturday, Andy and I are driving (together) across the country to start a new life. I'm so, so excited. But I'm also slightly panicked because I have a week to get everything ready. Plus, we are leaving a lot of things here to come back and get once we are settled. How do I decide what to leave behind? How do I part with most of my kitchen? Even if it's just for a few months?

I can tell you this: I'm not leaving without my kitchen aid mixer.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Just call me Humpty Dumpty

After a brief and (mostly) painless orthodonitst appointment my wire retainer has been glued back in place.

I also recieved some good news. Once we replace my missing tooth they will be able to remove one of the wire retainers, and maybe the other one. Maybe. That's the best thing I've heard about my teeth since I got my braces off, a year ago.

At the end of the visit the doctor said, "Now, if you go trick-or-treating this weekend, be careful eating all that chewy candy." Um, yeah. I guess he sees pre-teens and teens most days. No danger of me trick-or-treating this weekend, or eating any chewy candy.

But, if anyone has any chocolate, feel free to send it my way.

Off to the dentist tomorrow. Yippy. Skippy.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

One of those people

You know the kind. The ones that have a dentist appointment and in the week leading up to it, all they do is complain about how much they hate going to the dentist and they go and it's just a quick cleaning and they're done.

I used to hate those people. Once upon a time I actually enjoyed getting my teeth cleaned. Ok, it wasn't the most pleasant process, but there were worse things and the end result was so nice. Clean, shiny teeth and I didn't have to go back for six months.

Since the accident my reality is much different. I am one of those people now, but the difference is that I'm not just going for a cleaning. When I go to the dentist, or any oral doctor, (Oh! Another thing I didn't have to do before! I only had a dentist, before...) I need more than to have my teeth cleaned.

This is not some kind of philosophical rant where I find meaning in all that has happened to me. Right now I really just want to whine. Because I have to go to the dentist on Thursday to see about finally (finally!) replacing my missing tooth and repairing a few other teeth that were damaged in the crash. And then this morning one of my permanent retainers came loose and I have to go to the orthodontist tomorrow to have it fixed. A piece of metal! In my mouth! Permanently! FOREVER!

And I'm sure there are people thinking, "Big freaking deal! Grow up! It could be so much worse!" And you know what? I know that. Oh, yeah. I learned that lesson the hard way. The "It could be so much worse" lesson, because my reality could be a lot worse. Believe me, I know. I'm grateful. I have a permanent reminder tattooed on my body that tells me each day how grateful I am. I know I could be dead. I know.

But after a year and a half, it's kind of difficult to keep putting on my brave face. Sometimes I just want to complain and I think I've earned the right. And you know, I think it wouldn't be so bad and I could keep on going with a good attitude until the end, except the end isn't visible. Oh, sure, I can see a light at the end of the tunnel where the accident is concerned. We will come to an understanding with the insurance company and we'll sign papers and I can move on. My treatment will be finished.

But, truly, my treatment will never be finished. I'm walking around with a daily reminder that there are parts of me they can't fix. I can't feel part of my face. And I will likely never be able to feel it again. Ever. And once this tooth is replaced I'll have a full set again, but what happens in the future? There is a really good chance that the other teeth that were damaged in the accident will die at some point in my life. That leaves me with the possibility of losing five more teeth. All in front. That is a whole other process of pain and discomfort and inconvenience that I can't even account for yet, because no one really knows what is going to happen.

At this point I'm starting to get on my own nerves with the whining. Poor me. Woe is me. Someone give me a cookie. Oh! Wait! Don't. I can't eat it because my retainer came loose this morning.

Also, let's not forget another wrench this accident has thrown into my life concerning Andy's new job and our relocation to Colorado.

I have to stay here. I mean, I guess I don't have to stay here, but my doctors are here and my lawyer is here and the accident happened here. And if I need to be here to meet with someone or go to an appointment or sign something I can't just fly back at a moment's notice. Not only is that impractical, it's also not affordable. So, there's something else that I don't get to do because of this freaking nightmare that happened a YEAR AND A HALF AGO! Oh, sure I'll get to move to Colorado. Eventually. But right now I'm facing an unknown length of separation from my husband. I don't want to be separated from my husband. I like him. I'd like to be with him.

So this is where I am right now. I'm still angry. No matter how much I try to pretend like I'm ok with the situation, the truth is, it sucks. I know in the end I'm going to be a better person for what I've lived through and blah, blah, blah. Right now I can't make myself feel that way. Sometimes I just need to feel sorry for myself, and this is one of those times.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Rocky Mounatin High

Ok guys, I'm postponing my usual "Photogenic Friday" post because I've been waiting two months to post this and I finally can, so I'm not waiting any longer.

It's no secret that there is something going on in my life right now. I think that was pretty clear when I posted about us moving and managed to give no real reason why. It was vague and annoying. And I hate it when a blogger posts something like that and is all "Hey things are happening, but I can't say what" and then they just continue posting like nothing ever happened until one day, Bam! they just lay one on you and you've forgotten all about the "Big Vague Announcement." Yeah, that's a big pet peeve of mine, so in order to avoid that I made my "Big Vague Announcement" and promptly fell off the face of the earth. I'm sorry. Really I am, but this is so big, and I couldn't just pretend like nothing was going on. My sincerest apologies.

But now I'm back and I'm ready to revel all. OH! MY! GOSH! I've written and rewritten this post so many times in my head and I don't even know how it should go anymore, so I'm just going to go ahead and give you the BIG part and you can let it soak in while I tell you the story to how it all came about. Ok? Ok.

Here goes...


Oh. Em. Gee. I can't believe I finally typed that sentence. We're moving. To. Colorado.


So, the how and they why. The best thing to do is to start at the beginning, which is three years ago, and I promise to make this as brief as possible, because this is not a short story I'm about to tell.

The whole thing actually started further back than three years. It started when Andy and I got engaged. We wanted a change and we were planning a big move out west when we got married. Except the stress and financial demands of planning a wedding got in the way, so we postponed the move. We said we'd do it in a year or two.

Then we got married and commenced living happily ever after. We started planning the move. Denver, CO was the destination and we even took a trip out there to look at apartments. The plan was to move right around our first anniversary. So what happened?

Andy got a promotion. He'd been working in this ski shop since college and suddenly there was a full time, year round position open and they wanted him. It was really a wonderful opportunity and it just fell into his lap. That's not something that happens every day and we both knew he needed to take it, because turning it down to move across the country with no jobs and no real plan would have been stupid.

Fast forward three years to this past August. One night Andy and I had a discussion about our future. We have this same talk all the time and it seems like we've been going in circles for two years now. The problem is this: Andy and I have plans. We want to buy a house and have a kid or two and it just didn't seem like we were ever going to be able to achieve either of those where we were. I haven't had a job for a year and a half and while Andy's company has been great, there isn't a lot of room for advancement. There is one more big step that he could make and that's it.

So we were talking about the possibility of trying to make it in the NC mountains (which we have grown to love so much) or picking up and moving. Where, we werent' sure, but I was bound and determined for this conversation to be fruitful, so I kept pushing until Andy finally came out with it. He really loves the ski industry and he wants to stay in it, but there aren't a lot of opportunities in the East for that kind of career. So I just threw out there that we had once been gung ho about moving and maybe we should revisit that possibility again.

And here's the thing. The season is getting geared up and when we started talking about this possible move we were talking in terms of the next year. Because who would have a job opening in the ski industry this close to "go time?" So we went to bed that night with the understanding that we might need to move away from our beloved Blue Ridge, but not for a little while longer.

The next day (Monday) at lunch time Andy came home and told me he had actually found a job opening, actually several job openings with this large company based in Colorado. He decided to send in his resume. What could it hurt?

By Wednesday he was setting up a phone interview for Friday, and by the end of that interview he had a promise of another interview with someone else.

So now, after two months, three phone interviews, one Skype interview, and a whole roller coaster of other things, we're going. He has a job and we're going.

That is the reader's digest version. I can't possibly begin to tell all the details.

I can tell you that I will be staying behind for a few months, at least. This all happened a lot faster than we had expected and since I'm still in the middle of an insurance settlement for an accident that happened in NC, we decided it would be best for me to stay behind and tie up all those loose ends.

But y'all, I am beyond excited. I'm also completely shocked that it's finally happening.

It's exciting and invigorating and completely scary. We're picking up our lives and leaving our friends and family and moving to Colorado!

It's crazy, and I love it!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Project 365, week 41

Week in pictures October 9-15

Tiny little bats

Nestled among the boxes

Bestill my heart

New running trail

Help me, Mom!


Vegetable beef stew

Thursday, October 14, 2010

This morning...

This morning Rufus had a small procedure scheduled to remove some of his dead tissue from his neck. We've known from the beginning that this was going to be part of the healing process, and that he might have a more limited mobility in his neck once it was all said and done.

But once they started the vet realized that the dead tissue was all the way down to Rufus's spine. It would have taken many more intense procedures to remove all the dead tissue. Also, Rufus would have needed to go to a specialist to have skin grafts done to replace the dead tissue, and at the end of it all, if he managed to make it through, he likely wouldn't have been able to lift his head at all.

I would have been a very long and painful process for him.

So with all that in mind the decision was made to go ahead and let Rufus rest. It just wasn't fair to ask him to go through all that and in the end not be able to be the same Rufus that he was before this happened.

My family is heartbroken at the loss of our companion. But as I write this I'm comforted in the thought that if all dogs go to heaven then Rufus is not alone and this morning he was welcomed by our other dog Tinker, and they are having a wonderful time being reunited.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A hodge podge, if you will

So last night Andy and I finally dug out the box containing all my computer wires and wingdings to hook up Ole Bessie and get her moving again.

Guess what?  Ole Bessie is broken. Done. Gone forever! Woe is me!

Ok, so it isn't that dramatic. Way back when we got married we took both our computers from college and created Ole Bessie. She has two hard drives, but only one of them runs the computer and that is the one that is broken. So she won't turn on. Basically we have to reformat and get rid of the broken hard drive, but not before we retrieve all the information on it.

I can hear so many of you out there going, "Um... are you still using a desktop? I didn't even think they made those anymore." Well, yes, they do still make them and I'm not just calling her "Ole Bessie" because I think it's cute. But I like sitting at a desk to do my computing. We have a laptop, but I'm fond of Ole Bessie. She's seen me through many a long night and you know the old saying, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Well, it is "broke" but we're going to fix it anyway because it is repairable. So There!

Anyway, I'm using my mother-in-law's computer until we can fix our small problem. Thanks Kathryn!

Also, I still really miss my mountain.

It has been oh, so hot here in the foothills. The leaves are changing, but the temperature is nearly unbearable. I went running yesterday (for the first time in over a month, hello lazy!) and it took me over an hour to cool down and stop being red. I shouldn't be that hot in the middle of October. Whine! Whine! Whine!

Oh yeah. I'm whining, and no one can stop me. I went up the mountain last Saturday to pick Andy up (another story for another day) and it was perfect fall weather. Not cold, but not warm either. Perfect roll-your-window-down-and-drive weather. And there was this tree I saw on my way that was so red it looked like it was a flame. Gorgeous. I wanted to stop and take a picture, but I was in a hurry to get Andy and thought I'd get him to stop on the way back. Yeah, that didn't happen. He wanted to go home a different direction. He's a fall Scrooge. He also gets to spend most of the week in the mountains and doesn't understand what the big deal is. Men!

But really, I love my husband. I know, what a segue right? Seriously though, I love him. I can't get enough of him. You know, for a long time after the accident I felt like we were just continually climbing a mountain trying to get to the top. We weren't having marital problems, but life in general was hard. We were a team and we were doing it together, but holy crap, where was the precipice? And now it feels like we're here, or at least we've flattened out a little bit before another big climb, and I can see him for the wonderful man that he really is and not have to find that through my own hurts and problems. Does any of that make sense?

I mean, even though it isn't all over (and probably never truly will be, because I won't ever forget), I feel like we've finally gotten our life back. We are a couple, a whole couple and we are supporting each other, instead of one of us having to carry the other. It's pretty awesome. And even though I have constant, daily, physical reminders of what we've been through, I think that makes it all the more worth while. It helps me not forget why I married him and why we are still together. Even when he won't go back and let me take a picture of that gorgeous red tree I saw. But you know what? If I had pressed the issue he would have gone back, and I love that about him too.

So, a summary of all that: I still miss fall in the mountains and I love Andy, like, a lot.

Up next: Rufus. He's still hanging in there. He does have some dead and dying tissue. We took him to the vet on Monday and she is really pleased with how his recovery is coming. She called him a miracle dog. Thursday they are going to do a small procedure to remove some of the dead tissue from his neck, and he will continue to be on antibiotics until he is completely out of danger of infection. If he gets an infection with all the tissue still dying and trying to slough off then it's pretty much hopeless. So he's still a very sick puppy, but he is improving day by day.

Things I'm looking forward to:
  • Halloween and doing some Halloween-centric activities with my nieces and nephews
  • Getting Ole Bessie fixed
  • Fall baking. I've done some, but I have a long list that needs some attention
  • Making some more permanent decisions about our living arrangement (Not that I'm not grateful for my in-law's generosity, but I'm very much looking forward to the day when 90% of my belongings aren't in boxes anymore)
Happy Hump Day!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Project 365, week 40

Week in pictures October 2-8

The process

The result

Mother Nature decorates for Halloween too

Halloween celebrations are in full swing

Miss my husband

The warming booties make thier first appearance

Cream of chicken and wild rice soup (from scratch)

This is called "eating my feeling"

Thursday, October 7, 2010

From bad to better

Yesterday was a really awful day.

It started out well. Hot cider, to cut the morning chill, and a little computer time before I had a shower. Then, in the middle of my morning respite, I got a frantic call from my mom.

My parents are on vacation and I've been taking care of their dog, Rufus.

Rufus is about seven years old and I claim him as my own, as much as theirs. He was around before I was married and when I still called my parent's house, "home."

Yesterday morning Rufus was out doing his morning rounds and got into a bad fight with two other dog. The neighbor saw him trying to make it home and called my parents.

We quickly arranged for me to meet the neighbor at the vet's office, so they could check him out. They told me over the phone that it was really bad, but sometimes a lot of blood can make something seem worse than it really is. I was concerned of course, but I tried to keep myself together until I knew something for sure.

When they got there with Rufus he did look pretty beat up and he was holding his head in a funny way.

The vet did a quick examination and gave a pretty bad diagnosis. She suggested taking him to the nearest trauma center, about an hour away, and even then she didn't have a whole lot of hope for his recovery.

After some discussion with my parents over the phone it was decided that the vet should do some xrays to see what was really the matter. The biggest concern was that, since Rufus was showing signs of paralysis, he had a fractured spine and, even if his other injuries healed, he couldn't recover from that.

The xray showed that his spine was still fine and straight, but his windpipe had been damaged. Also there were two big tears in his muscle tissue that went down to the bone. The swelling from that was causing the paralysis, and just before his xrays he had started to have small seizures indicating that there was also swelling around his brain.

The vet never said it out lout, but I could tell that she really didn't think he was going to make it the next couple of hours even, and if it were her decision she would have gone ahead and decided to let him go. She was very kind though and let us make all the decisions on our own after giving us our options.

Taking him to the trauma center would have been very, very expensive and since the xray showed that his injuries weren't operable it wouldn't have really been worth while to take him. So we decided to give him at least 24 hours to see what would happen. They hospitalized him and gave him medications for pain and infections and treated his shock. They also cleaned him up and stitched up his superficial wounds. Then made him as comfortable as possible.

All day yesterday I felt really awful. I was so worried about Rufus and just couldn't imagine him not being there when I pulled up to the house. I was also feeling really guilty about this happening. I know there really wasn't anything that I could have done, but back when Andy and I got married we talked briefly about bringing Rufus to live with us. We decided against it because at the time my parents had two dogs (two years ago Tinker had to be put down), and we couldn't bring both of them, but we didn't want to separate them. Also, Andy and I were moving into an apartment and Rufus had so much more freedom at my parent's house. So we decided he would be better off where he was. But all day yesterday I kept thinking that if he lived with us this wouldn't have happened. It was a very long day and every time the phone rang my heart dropped.

But with a new day comes new hope, and this morning the vet called to say that he was doing better. I went to see him this afternoon and he was much more alert. Yesterday he didn't respond to anyone or anything and then today when he heard my voice he strained to try to find me. Also, the paralysis is getting better. The vet said that earlier he had been up on all fours trying to walk around.

He isn't out of danger yet. His recovery is going to be very long, and there is a concern that the damaged tissue will die instead of healing. That would be very bad and make his chance of recovery very small, but we aren't giving out hope yet.

The vet said that he had surprise everyone there at how hard he was fighting and how much he seemed to want to live. As long as he keeps fighting we'll do what we need to to help him heal.

Monday, October 4, 2010

One day I'll get back to regular posting...

Sorry everyone. Is there anyone still here? Hanging on? Waiting for me to get my head out of my butt and start typing again?

Kudos to you if you're still checking in!

I've been spending these last few weeks relaxing. Actually, last week was busy. Not busy in an "Oh Em Gee! I need everyone to leave me alone!" sort of way, but in an "I've had a full day and am going to sleep well tonight." kind of way.

We've settled into our new space and a new routine. Andy and I don't get to see each other as often since he's gone three or four nights each week, but we make the most of the time we do have together.

The weather has started to be more fallish. Which I love, but through the week Andy calls me and tells me how cold it is in the mountains and it makes me sad.

I miss my mountain. The foothills are great, but it isn't the same. I've been doing my level best to enjoy the fall here, but tonight I was overcome by a longing to be "home." Where Andy is and where my favorite season is.

I drank a lot of apple cider today and pulled out my fluffy robe. It's still a little too warm here for it, but I'm wearing it anyway. It's October and I'm wearing my fluffy robe dangit!

One good thing about fall here is that it's more of a slow burn. In the mountains it's all, "BAM! Here's fall" and in a month everything is all brown and ugly, and if it wasn't for Thanksgiving and Christmas you would fall into a deep depression because of all the brown and lack of exciting weather developments. Also there are the sweaters. A pretty, cozy fall sweater has pulled me through many a dismal, brown, late fall day. It's like magic.

Tomorrow, though, I get to visit my mountians. I was up there last week too, but I didn't drive myself. Tomorrow I'm going to drive on the parkway. And I'm going to stop and take pictures like a tourist. And I'm going to stop for a warm drink, to sip while I enjoy the cold air and lashing, fall wind.

And I'm going to get my hair cut, because it needs to be reminded who is the boss in this relationship.

How is your fall going?

P.S. I broke my new year's resolution yesterday. I know! But I think making it to October and only reading the books I already own is really good as resolutions go. Especially for me, a self proclaimed book addict. Anyway, I got some classics really cheap and I started Bram Stoker's Dracula yesterday, in honor of October and Halloween. So far I'm loving it!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Projext 365, week 39

Week in pictures September 25 - October 1

Apple season

My closet awaits filling

 NOT happy about bedtime this week

This is my food bowl, and I'll thank you to remember that

My old room is ready for Christmas, thanks to my niece

The Great Antiquer

They sell donkeys