August 15, 2018

The change of seasons presents an interesting morning decision. It is dawn and the sun will be rising as I drive east to work.

Should I put on my (prescription) sunglasses or not? If I do, the first bit of the drive is dim due to the shades. If I don’t, I may have moments of near blindness due to the sun, or trying to change my glasses while driving in rush hour traffic.

This morning I did not put on the sunglasses. And the sun rose.

But all of the distant fires (eastern Washington and British Columbia) have added an extremely thick haze. I could see the full shape of the sun, and it was red. The haze was thick enough that the lack of sunglasses was tolerable.

The sun as I arrived at work

The air is actually considered unhealthy at this point. Exercising outdoors is not encouraged.

Neither Carl or I have noticed any breathing difficulties, but my eyes feel scratchy.

I hope the fires die down and the wind picks up. Even rain would be acceptable.

Baseball Day Out

August 13, 2018

But not the Mariners!

Although we did check their progress online. Instead we went to a Silver Fox game to see friends, both on and off the field. Carl’s team, for all of 1 game this year, prevailed.

Next up was a single-a Everett Aquasox game with a group of Mariner fans who Carl hangs around with, usually at a stadium. The Frogs! And they lost. Even the mascots lost to a little boy ( seen leading the pack on the left.)

It was a reasonably nice day, but I was ready to go home when the game finally ended.

Oh, and there was a wedding. Friday evening. A lovely affair, on the water (like Rey and Becca’s), but no beach. And the boats were a bit larger than kayaks.

Speaking of wedding pictures. Here’s one of the Root and Arrow photos from the wedding a bit earlier this summer. Just a taste for now.

Jay, Rey, Becca, Cheryl and Tony.

There were kayaks. Trust me.

And just for grins, here are 2 of the 3 Harms boys. Bruce could not make it.

Steve and Carl

For Dad

August 6, 2018

91. Simply amazing.

Photo courtesy of Bill

He often tells me, now, how he is slowing down. And then that he has to go finish putting the hardware cloth on the outhouse vents to keep the squirrels from turning it into a giant 2 hole storage bin. And he was going to trim some branches off of a pine tree to get to one of the vents.

I hope to catch up to his speed sometime soon.

Catching Up

August 5, 2018

There are a few chores that have fallen by the wayside over the summer. I am constantly reminded of one in particular. WEEDING

I decided that I would attack just one stretch this morning, before it got too hot. I didn’t take a before picture, but a partial one. It’s like raking leaves, you can see your progress.

The large bare area being cleared is supposed to get strawberries, eventually.

Checked out the vegetables as well, picking two tomatoes and one zucchini.

Find the zucchini

After a lunch break we set out on a walk. These have not happened since the 2nd knee episode, but we decided to go. A bit more than 2 miles, and it included some hills. (That’s what happens when you follow the shade into a ravine. You eventually have to climb out.)

It’s been a while, so the rest of the afternoon may have a bit slower pace.

Say it with Food

August 3, 2018

Morning greeting. Recognizable form before coffee.

More Picassoesque after the stress of the day.

Okay, okay, okay

August 2, 2018

I have been home from home away from home for over a month now, really 1-1/2 months. It still seems very recent, and yet so long ago. I just found my passport from the Michigan travels, still in my backpack, so I am just getting myself sorted.

Gate 1 and only at Chippewa International Airport

3 primary areas for discussion over this time; health, work and family.

Me – I got a cold for the past weekend. Keeping the Kleenex company in business, and it looks like it is time for a Costco run again. And I gave it to Carl too! SHARING IS CARING.

Carl’s health has been a roller-coaster of a summer. (See previous posts for the earlier bits.) Jane provided stellar care; with infusions, doctor calls, cooking, and more. Carl didn’t have a relapse until I returned home.

When not going to medical centers Carl passes the time with sports on TV, puzzles and reading (Boys in the Boat – highly recommended). Jane and Carl shared the World Cup, Wimbledon and the Tour de France, and of course a few baseball games.

Carl was continuing to improve, walking, climbing stairs. He was down to 1 bandaid and some scabs. Then, 2 weeks after getting off of antibiotics his knee blew up again. No temperature this time though. Urgent Care and a new referral to rheumetology (and drugs). Rheumetology is looking at arthritis (of course) or psuedogout. (Regular gout isn’t good enough for us, fake “_____” is all the rage this year.) Back up to 3 bandaids and one more pill to the pile.

This week we are into follow-up appointments. More x-rays, but hopefully no more blood draws – he has turned into a turnip, and cardiac rehabilitation. The scabs are almost all gone and the knee swelling is decreasing, back on the positive path toward recovery.

And back to a few Mariner games again. We did manage to get to a Paxton (pitcher from Canada) game, since we just missed seeing him on Carl’s birth/discharge-day. This is all part of the recovery plan.

Carl’s job is recovery. (See previous notes.)

I feel like I have been barely working for 6+ weeks. I managed to keep up with small projects, but the bigger ventures essentially went on hiatus. For example: I reviewed a plan on the day of Carl’s first surgery (6/18), and just go my review letter written last Thursday (7/26). Another stressor was being summoned before a hearing examiner to explain and be questioned about my decisions and directions on a project. This finally happened Monday. After spending a week reading literally a box of reports, emails and studies, I was ready to be grilled. It ended up being a light saute as more recent decisions deflected the appellants path of argument and I only gave about 10 minutes of testimony (instead of the expected several hours). My next focus is to focus on getting my two big responsibilities back on track. And maybe even work a full 5-day work week next week.

Carl’s already had his share of this update, so on to the kids.

Rey & Becca are on the move again. MOVING WEST! About 100 miles further west, and one time zone closer. To Nashville. (Becca has already started her new job!)

Ashlan & Allen, as far as I can tell, are continuing their year of weddings. (Not theirs)

My sisters. Let me just take a moment to say I have the best! Pooh stepped in to keep me on track and pick up my slack with all of the festivities surrounding Rey and Becca’s wedding – in addition to her regular activities.
And Jane – took exceedingly good care of Carl and the garden and building furniture – all while I slacked off in Michigan.
I have not figured out an appropriate way to thank them, yet.

Patient in his new chair

In amongst all of this, the car got a flat tire. I actually think the nail was there while Jane was driving, but didn’t shift to let air out until I tried to put more air in. (An adventure in itself with non-working air machines and driving on an ever lowering tire. Luckily our neighbor had asked me to park in her flat driveway while she was vacationing. So it made it easier for me to attempt to change, and for AAA to finally change the tire for the little spare. (I am not strong.)

The temperatures have been soaring, so I have been watering. The raspberries are just about done, a few zuchini have arrived (zoodles for dinner tonight), the bush peas have been “meh”, but the tomatoes are really good. I think I may change my planting choices next year.

Dwindling Numbers

July 8, 2018

As the celebratory week winds down, our numbers are rapidly decreasing as well. At brunch there were 23.

We got to spend an afternoon on the beach with friends. Hot in the sun, even with the wind. But just getting partially wet was enough to cool down.

Dispersion of folks downstate, UP tourism, Canada and flights from both Soos. By dinner it was down to 8.

(Dinner for a few of us was Clydes, the only boats were small motorboats and the Sugar Island ferry. And strangest of all, no seagulls harassed us for food, only a fly intent on Allen’s Big C burger. )

Such is the way of the world.

Work continues for most, and for most that means being somewhere other than here. So we flit in and out. The wedding provided a focus that allowed me to be here at the same time as others.

I often feel removed when we are at the cabin. Lack of connectivity through the little hand held device accounts for some. No TV is yet another normal home source of information that is not in attendance. I do understand there is wi-fi available, of sorts, and much can be found if you bother to get a computer out.

Maybe tomorrow. I think I will pick up my book.

They’ve Only Just Begun

July 7, 2018

Rey and Becca

The day was beautiful, in so many ways. People helping out, small gestures and large.

I so missed Carl, and Jane being present for the festivities.

Video phone call back home for the first dance. (I’m glad I figured out finally how to hold the phone so Carl could see some of the fun.)

Good food, friends and pie.

Arrival, and We’re Off

July 6, 2018

Chippewa International airport, about 15 minutes after arrival.

The plane landed a few minutes early, baggage a few minutes later, and then it was empty, save a few of us waiting for rides.

I am ensconced in the loft. Almost a private room by cabin standards. Comfortable enough and I don’t need to worry about keeping others awake with the light from my phone.

Today was all about people, family and friends, old and new.

Family at the falls

The falls. Tahquamenon that is.

Mom and Dad, reading.

Dinner topped off by a visit to the locks where we saw a Holland flagged ship bearing windmills upbound, the Indiana Harbor downbound and the Tregurtha (largest freighter on the lakes at 113 feet long x 105 feet wide) waiting for an upbound lock.

Who knew windmill vanes had teeth.

Most of the out-of-towners have arrived, with one significant hitch. A missed connection and quick decisions made for a reroute and a volunteer for an unplanned 6 hour round-trip drive to just barely be here in time. It could work.

Tomorrow is the day. But first, enjoy tonight.

Happy July Anniversary

July 5, 2018

1st – Happy Anniversary Carl, the big 33.

Followed by parting is such sweet sorrow. Sweet because it is to witness the creation of another July anniversary, and sorrow because we won’t be together for our son’s wedding.

The full picture

A huge shout out to Jane for making it possible for me to attend, and learning the IV infusion ropes in one easy lesson, taking on lab tests and xray visits and keeping Carl well. And of course, the ball of antibiotics had a recalcitrant cap. Thank goodness I had done 2 successful infusions so I knew it was not normal. For those that know me well, I am a control freak, so this is either a test or lesson in letting go.

The last few days, since release have been filled with medical appointments, visits from friends that allowed some errands to be completed and continuing to learn the ropes of caregiving, and receiving care. It’s an interesting dance, trying to do more without going too far.

Rainbow super hero cape infused with tylenol

So, the 3rd sister, who is actually first, whipped up this awesome cape in response to a text string talking about Carl’s bionics. I had sort of forgotten that conversation until Jane reminded me, but the forgetting was all on me, too many things to remember lately. I don’t know how she found the time and the perfect material.

I have tried to download it all to Jane, and left her the book of everything. (If Ashlan reads this she knows what I mean.) And the book is more than half full. When this started, I thought it was way too big, but it was bound and on hand, easy to grab. The marbleized cover of this essay book says, “Reynard’s driving log”.

So off we go, solo, with the occasional tear in the eye. Happy anniversary to my sister and brother in law, several cousins, countless others, and especially Carl.