Thursday, October 30, 2008

Still Sick

It's no fun being sick. I've spent a lot of time in bed with the phone in the room turned off. That would work perfectly, since I can't hear it ring with the door closed, except that John comes in and wakes me up to tell me who called, and whether or not they left a message. Gee, thanks. He's looking out for me.

It's been so long since I've been sick, I've forgotten how annoying it can be. A nose can only get blown so many times before it gets raw. Even double-strength, extra-soft tissue feels like sand paper after a few days. The hot decongestant teas don't taste as bad as some of the cough medicines, but I'm not sure they work any better, either.

One good thing to have handy is the hand sanitizer. We keep it by every sink. Emptying the dish washer today, I had to use the stuff four times—once before I started, after washing my hands, and again after each time I stopped to sneeze a few times and blow my nose. I did finally get it all emptied, though (the dishwasher, not the nose).

It's amazing how happy John can be with a simple meal. Hot dogs? Macaroni and cheese? He's fine, as long as there's enough to fill him up. I'll get back to more creative cooking as soon as I feel human again. We're both hoping that will be soon. 

It's often said that whatever doesn't kill us, makes us stronger. I'm not sure I believe that anymore, but if it's true, I should be really strong when this goes away.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Home, Sweet Home

We arrived home Friday, late afternoon, and I'm nearly settled back into my comfort zone. We actually arrived over an hour later than necessary. Here comes the story John doesn't think is very funny. Give me credit—I didn't laugh out loud while it was happening.

Due to the type of trailer John rented to pull his old Blazer back here, we were unable to back up. I'm still not sure I understand why, but the simple fact was that if we attempted to go in reverse, we'd simply crash the car's rear bumper into the trailer. Cool. I wanted him to prove that to me, but I got "the look" instead, the one that says, "Just take my word for it." 

Just this side of Cheyenne, Wyoming, we stopped at the Flying J truck stop for gas. We have a reward card, so get up to a few cents a gallon discount, depending on how often we've used them recently. The station was packed, so I jumped out to use the facilities inside while John waited to get to a pump. While I was inside, John changed lanes. Unfortunately, he got in a lane facing a car with no one behind the wheel.  When I returned to the car, John finished pumping gas and climbed in, but we couldn't go anywhere, because the car we were facing was still empty. We waited.

"Why not go in and ask them to tell the guy to move his car, Honey?" I suggested. He wanted to give the guy another ten minutes. He finally went inside. The young man sauntered out and said he was "Sorry, but I locked the keys in the car. I'm waiting for the locksmith." Then he went back inside. It was another hour before we got out of there. While we were waiting I bought us each an overpriced sandwich inside, and got some Chex Party Mix I had made that was still in the back, and we had a little picnic. 

Highlights of the trip, as always, were the people we saw. Mom and then Ellen and Johnny get special thanks for putting up with us... or should I say putting us up? I now have three pounds to lose. How did that happen? I got to have a very short part of a day with Sherrie, and John and I enjoyed a dinner out with Al and Becky. Tighe even made a trip up to Ellen's from San Diego to see us. That was definitely a treat. Way to go, Son. You made me feel incredibly important.  

There were some differences this time, other than not seeing Emma or Pastor Stan, and a few other people like Bill and Liz. It was a quick trip, after all. We noticed that there were fewer new car plates in evidence in California. Usually I notice an abundance of new cars, and it's fun to notice when they were purchased, knowing the "happy plates" as Ryan calls them are only good for sixty days. This time, I didn't see very many, and the ones I saw were primarily on used cars, many with noticeable dents or flaws. Interesting. 

Another thing I noticed that most people probably would not is the lack of out-of-state license plates traveling around in Southern California. They're still there. The week we were there, I got eleven states. That's really low, compared with our last trip. Also, most of those were close, like Arizona and Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Many of the others came from semis. Of course, we saw Florida. They, like California, have good reason not to stay home, I guess, since I see them everywhere I go. Once we were back on the Interstate, we got a lot more, but still not as many as normal. I can say that definitively, since I've been playing my license plate game from many years.

We took a different route home this time, going up through Utah so we could stop and harass a couple of people. We spent a few hours with Joe and Heather, then drove a little more than an hour to Bountiful to see Schmath and Ryan. We shared a wonderful Mexican dinner at a cool little place (next one is on us, Ryan...) and hit the road before it was obnoxiously late. Such are the highlights, from my point of view. 

My ears are still plugged, but they are improving. I have no idea what the sermon was about this weekend, but I sat still, and tried to hear. That should count for something, but I'm not sure what. My chest is contested now, too. I'm just glad to be home. Maybe tomorrow we'll find out when John needs to return to California, and I'll decide if I'm going along. I'm really not sure at this point. I'll see how I feel in a day or two. 

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hearing--Or Not

This is the second consecutive trip to California where I've developed sudden severe hearing loss due to congestion in my ear canals. Voices, including my own, sound like they're coming from a distant and very poor quality speaker that somebody has hidden beneath a pillow.

At this point I figure there are a few options. The last time this happened, it took two trips to different doctors and ten days on medication before it gradually began to improve. After about a month it returned to normal, which was nice. Few things about me are truly normal. I can go the same route, hoping for the same slow progress while I continue to say, "Huh?" everytime someone speaks to me.

Staying above 6,000 feet seems to work really well, but I guess that's not too practical, unless I can get all the people I love to come to me. That's not been as successful as we'd like. Somebody said if I held my head under water for about thirty minutes, it might stop the problem. That sounds like it would stop aging, as well.

Suggestions would be welcome.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sunny California

Whenever we visit the sunny State of California, I envision God enjoying a good laugh at my expense. There are things that were good about our life here, but many things we were very glad to leave behind. It never fails that we revisit the things better left behind on nearly every trip.

The plan to stay with my sister and her husband was short circuited. About two hours before our arrival we got a call on our cell phone. Thank goodness for those technological wonders. Ellen and Johnny were under mandatory evacuation because of the fires. Did I mention the fires? People forget that Southern California is a desert. Little water. Very little green. Lots of dried brush. Lots of hot wind, even if you don't count the politicians. The fires beat us here by a couple of days.

We finally did get the all clear to spend some time here with Ellen and Johnny late yesterday, and that's been great. We always manage to have fun together. However, I'm not sure if she has been more unhappy with the hot weather, or me. At least I know I'll be going home to Autumn soon. She's pretty tired of the hot dry days.

I love having email access again. I sped off a few notes, including one to our old (not in years, but in the sense of previous) pastor. I mentioned that we were here for ten days. We'd already had the bumper to bumper traffic, the Santa Ana winds, the heat wave and the fires. I asked if he knew when the earthquake was scheduled for, because I was sure there would be one before we left next week. He was hoping I'm wrong, but so am I.

John's going to be towing back his "P.o.S." Blazer when we head home, so we're not going through the Eisenhower tunnel. Instead we're driving through the Elk Ridge and Bountiful areas. If that is of particular interest to you, email me before we leave on Wednesday at break of dawn (or sometime shortly thereafter) and we'll make plans to wave on our way through your town.

One final piece of news. John's day at the missile base was productive. It appears as though they will have a three week contract for him, and will need him to come back for that in four to six weeks. That translates to Thanksgiving with the family here instead of in Connecticut. So, kids, can you think of an alternate time period when we could come and bond with (nearly) new baby Kate and spoil Ashley while we're at it?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Trip to California

The night before each trip I look at John and say, "In a perfect world, what time would you like to hit the road in the morning?" Then I set my internal clock for whatever time he tells me, and somehow I manage to wake up about an hour before the designated hour. I was somewhat amazed when he told me he wanted to be on the road by four a.m.

Okay, fine. We're all packed. I'm not sure what I've forgotten, of course, but we'll do without whatever those things happen to be. Now I'd better crawl into bed and pretend to sleep. He's already dead to the world. I wish I could fall asleep like that.

Oh, well. We always have fun once we're on the road. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


No matter how hard I try, I know when packing for a trip, I'll end up forgetting something. It probably won't be anything obvious, like my glasses or medications. I'll remember my camera and a few books. Clothes aren't a problem. Count the days, figure out how many outfits are needed. It's not like we dress up. 

There are a few awkward decisions, of course. Can we really drive all the way to California without my guitar? Can I live without my computer for two weeks? That means my manuscript edits will take me hours—maybe days to transfer to my writing program when I get home, rather than doing them as I go. Right now I red-line outside on the deck, then bring my pages inside and change the manuscript on the computer and make a back up copy immediately. I'm obsessed.

Beyond the decisions, though, and the obvious things that are always packed, are pesky items, never the same, that I manage to remember somewhere about four hours from home. I'm trying to remember them now and make a list. The car charger for the cell phone is one we've forgotten in the past. Last time we had it on the list, only to find we left the cell phone behind. My sister's Christmas present definitely needs to go with us. It's breakable, and I don't want to risk putting it in the mail. 

I'm gazing across the foothills from my happy place here in the living room. It's obvious why I forget to pack things. They all belong here, like me. It's just so difficult to get the people I love to pack up their belongings and come here instead. Especially Mama, since she's nearly eighty-eight. I used to love traveling. Part of me still does, but most of me loves home more. Maybe I'll pack in a day or two.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

On Not Being Young

Most of the time I appreciate being the age I am. I don't grieve over lost youth. In fact, I remember all too well the problems inherent in being young, let alone immature. Age does have some benefits. It's difficult to get older without learning a few life lessons. It can be done, of course, but it takes more determination than I've had.

Lately, however, and it's obvious this has been coming from the first word written above, I've been longing for those innocent days of childhood. I don't refer to running around outside playing while mom cleaned the house, although that was nice. I wish it still worked that way. I'm referring to that glorious time of youth when I trusted the government to have the country's best interests at heart, rather than merely the best interests of the politicians.

Tonight I sat through a listing of the "pork" in the financial bail out bill. First it made me angry. Then I got sick. Now I'm just sad. Millions of dollars are being offered as bribes to get our representatives to vote for a piece of legislation they know is not a good bill. We might agree that something needs to be done, but bribing our politicians with favors unrelated to the bailout with money paid for by tax dollars garnered by those of us who did nothing wrong is beyond disreputable. 

I find it difficult to sit down and blog lately. It's been a place for my joys and memories, but as the politics get dirtier, and my fear for my beloved country mounts, I find it difficult to escape to that happy place. So tonight we'll watch the Vice Presidential debate, wondering if anything said will offer hope to a country that gives its own congress a mere 9% approval rating. 

And if I don't blog for awhile, please forgive me. I'm just feeling very old lately.