Day Three, Where Are You?

I got lost before Day 3. Still haven’t embroidered the blankets but I have accomplished other things. I’m able to be more active and trying to drive more so I can feel more comfortable behind the wheel. I still want to be able to drive to visit family in Austin. I got sick and tired of being sick and tired and pledged to find out why I was so sleepy all the time. I slept as much in the recliner as I did at night, and I never had any ambition or energy during the day. So I looked up my prescriptions and stopped the ones that could be sedating. I stopped 2 which helped immensely. I can’t stop my blood pressure medication and that’s the last sedating one. I’ve stopped sleeping during the day now. That’s a start. But I have insomnia from hell because one I stopped was my night time sleeping pill. I may start that at half strength and see if I can function.

I went back to the retina specialist and he says I have permanent damage to my retina due to scarring from the infection. My vision is 20-30 and blurry most of the time. Sux. I’d have never agreed to cataract surgery if I’d known I’d have to deal with this! Who would?

DH bought a new tool shed (20′ x 12′) and installed it in the backyard. He’s brought home everything he still had in storage, so for the first time in about 20 years we don’t have to pay monthly storage fees. Next on the agenda is to replace the driveway and patio, then build a Four Seasons room on the patio foundation. Some day it’ll all be nice.

The dogs are doing well. Zoe had an inflamed conjunctiva on her left eye so went to see the vet. But she is doing fine now. Here is a pic of her in her party hat:

Other than those things we’re just rocking along and trying to get out of the house more, spend more quality time together and establish new patterns/habits with the pandemic aftermath…just like everyone else.

Day Two

Okay. Today I hemmed two fleece blankets on the serger. I made an error on the first but nothing major. Then, when I rethreaded in another color for the other blanket it took me 30 minutes to thread the needle. I did finally get it with the second magnifying glass; I was on the verge of finding my husband to thread it for me. But I did it. And then I ordered several kinds of needle threaders from Amazon; they’ll be here Saturday. LOL Good ole Amazon!

Next on the agenda is making up embroidery designs for the blankets I hemmed. One is for Gypsy; one for ZsaZsa. Thanks the gods for auto-threaders on the embroidery and sewing machines! Tomorrow we have appointments so I’ll let you know how Day Three goes, whenever that happens.

Living My Life

Zoe holding my desk down

For the first time in over a year I actually tried sewing and it worked. I only mended a blouse but I could see the stitches and operate the machine. I think I was afraid to try so that’s all I’m doing today. I do have things to do, embroidery to do but I haven’t chosen designs yet. I looked at them but was slightly intimidated. Colors look different on the color palettes but the threads looked right in person. That’s a start. Words and numbers are still somewhat off kilter depending on their angles. Sometimes my check register looks like a 3rd grader wrote in it. Sometimes it looks totally normal. Go figure. I never expected cataract surgery to go so wrong. Everybody in my family had cataract surgery with no issues. Why did I have to be the exception to the rule?

I’ve been told that I’ve made all the progress I can expect in my healing. I can expect to always be on prescription steroid eye drops and to be monitored by the retina specialist for the rest of my life because of that medication. Some days my vision seems clear then with no notice it blurs. Bright light feels like it’s stabbing me in the eye and I have optical migraines for the first time in my life, usually caused from going out in the sunlight without shades. I was promised 20-20 vision without glasses. Instead I’ve spent part of the past year blind or nearly blind in my left eye. At first it was black. Then cloudy. No peripheral vision for the first month or so after I got my sight back. Then a second surgery gave me vision without the clouds but with blurriness. I hate to be ungrateful, because I can at least function, but I’m so disappointed and that’s hard to get over.

Recently I realized that I’d stopped living at all. I was relegated to a recliner and a television, cuddling dogs, with no life to speak of. Is that all there is? I asked. I thought about it several days. Alternatives? Options? Three years ago my mother died and we had to deal with the details…and there were a lot. I was stressed out for a long time. Then we moved and sold the old house and before we got the new house organized I had eye surgery. I never expected that I’d spend a year just getting over that. So I still can’t find anything at the new house; I can’t see worth a damn; I’m older and less fit; 2 of the dogs have passed away and I’m in the depths of depression. Lovely.

But COVID has come and gone. We lost my brother-in-law; my sister has had 2 strokes and has retired. My only aunt passed away which leaves me the second-eldest in the family. Those still left are pseudo-healthy and still kicking so all is not lost. It could be worse, right? DH and I are healthy and happy. We don’t have any money issues like a lot of folks now. The dogs are still healthy and happy. So what else do I want? Like a million other people I just want to be happy. I just don’t know what that looks like anymore. Today is a start. Tomorrow will be Day Two.

ZsaZsa’s Fifth

ZsaZsa’s favorite position

Since we’ve been super busy on the house remodeling it took several days before we were actually able to take ZsaZsa out to celebrate her fifth birthday. She is our baby, the youngest of our girls, so it was really important to celebrate especially this year. She was a rescue who had been kept in the backyard for the first 18 months of her life. She was afraid of everything, wouldn’t touch fabric of any kind and shivered a lot. We bathed her 3 times the first night we got her. She was full of burrs, even between her toes. She was so matted and filthy that we weren’t sure what color she was. She is a designer dog, a Schnoodle (schnauzer and poodle), who was supposed to be hypoallergenic for the child in the home. The child was still allergic so the dog went to the backyard. We used to hear her crying while we watched TV. DH would take her a treat and stick it between the boards in the fence. Sometimes I would cry, too. So sad. Finally, it was going to freeze outside so the people gave her to us.

I was already in love with her because we had babysat once while they were on vacation. It was love at first sight. I would carry her from room to room with me and she’d sit quietly and shiver. Poor little thing.

It took a bit before she came to trust that we wouldn’t holler at her for sitting in our lap or laying on the couch beside us. The turning point was when DH put a little cushion between our bed pillows and placed her there. She shivered and looked at us with big, frightened eyes as we lay down with her and petted her. She never moved the rest of the night. The pillow became hers at night. One morning she wasn’t there when we awoke–she was under the covers between us…and that’s where she sleeps every night now.

She sits on the couch, owns my lap, owns the car and demands we roll the window down so she can put her head into the wind. She chases cars (from her couch inside the car), screams in delight and wants to go everywhere we do. After 18 months of only seeing the inside of a wooden fence, we understand her thoughts. She loves everything and everyone. She bounces vertically when she’s excited so we call her our “bouncy bounce”. She’s such a happy creature and we hope to share her life far into the future. Happy birthday, ZsaZsa!!!!!!

Bunny Wabbit

Zoe, my bunny wabbit, enjoying spring

Spring arrived and is almost over before I’ve had a chance to post. We’re all hanging in there: vaccinated and about to lose the masks, working on health issues and home remodels. I was finally freed from the eye drops for 3 weeks but to my detriment. This week we started them again. Eye pressure went down but swelling went up. Back to the drawing board. I go back to the retina specialist in two weeks.

Rest In Peace, Miss Fancypants

Right before we left home to take her to the vet

This was the last time my “three little black girls” were in the same photo (and, as always, Dusty’s photobombing).  R was taking the photo but I just lost it.  Couldn’t do anything but hold her and cry.  This is her daily medicine schedule board

In April 2017 she was 16 1/2.  She’d had congestive heart failure for a few years but it was being controlled with medication.  Then in November she got a corneal abrasion and she’s been in and out of the ophthalmologist’s office and up to 6 times per day medicating her eyes.  One eye seemed better but the other was still full of calcium deposits.  She was still going, although slowing down a lot.  She slept a lot.  When she walked she’d stumble sometimes.  With her failing eyesight she would walk into the walls and furniture…or us.  But a couple of weeks ago we found out her kidneys were

Last unhurried nap before we left the house

beginning to fail, too.  We treated them with meds and with subcutaneous fluid.  Just like with Buffy and Jolie, we had to stick a needle into Fancy to get extra fluid to flush her kidneys.  It was only 3 times per week then, but it would have escalated to every day then to twice per day.  I wasn’t going to make another sick pin cushion out of an already ill and fading animal.  No more!  So we chose to say goodbye in a humane manner then cremate her so her ashes can be buried in the backyard alongside her other doggie sisters through the years.

Fancy’s last trip to PetSmart

This is how bad she felt, especially while having to wear the cone of shame for her eyes.

Last puppy whip at Starbuck

Alaska Visited Texas This Week?

Zoe says it’s too cold to pee!

At least you’d think it did. It was actually colder on the Texas coast than it was in Alaska at one point. Our little town was hit hard. 80% were without power. Water lines froze up, people were freezing to death with no heat and food was dwindling. Those who had food had no way to cook. No way to wash up. Some pets inadvertently left outside froze to death. People were dying from carbon monoxide poisoning, there was ice on the roads so we couldn’t get any supplies in to help us survive. Yet, the entire town came together. Families took in people who were suffering. Some made food and gave it away. People shared blankets, food, money and comfort. They opened a warming station at one of the schools. Plumbers were repairing frozen lines for free. When the city water thawed, the water quality was low so we had to boil it before using it. So everyone had to have bottled water…but there was none because the trucks couldn’t get through. There was no gasoline because the trucks couldn’t get through. People who were sitting in their cars with the heater running or running a generator for power in their backyards were in dire straits. It was bleak for too long.

What we didn’t see? There was no crime. There was no looting. There was no fighting among the citizens. There was little blame toward the city government and they came through for us, even though they dragged their feet at the beginning. The first three days there were no wrecks because people stayed off the roads. It made me proud to live here.

The temperature is moderating now. We have good water and plenty of heat. Trucks are arriving to replenish stores. Gasoline supply is increasing. People are repairing frozen and broken pipes, getting food and giving a sigh of relief.

We were some of the fortunate ones. We never lost power, had no lines frozen or broken, were warm and comfortable for the duration. We also did a lot of prep before the weather. We wrapped all our pipes, covered all the plants, brought in the potted plants, saved fresh water in case we lost it, closed off 2 rooms to conserve energy for the network, and decreased our thermostat. We wore extra clothes, wrapped up in blankets and held warm dogs all we could. We actually used less energy this week than we did the week before, so it worked. We’re fortunate not to lose anything when so many around us lost so much. Those whose homes burned lost everything, in some cases even their lives. Last night we even went out for Mexican and margaritas. And today Starbucks was open so Gypsy and Zsa Zsa got a ride in the beautiful sunlight.

Living in a semi-tropical zone where hurricanes are the biggest threat, people never think about living in a deep freeze. And our electrical grid is not designed for these temperatures. A perfect storm of electrical generating plants down for repair, a shortage of natural gas, frozen wind turbines and a massive increase in energy usage to heat homes conspired to wreck the system. We’ve been told that changes will be made so that this never happens again. That remains to be seen, but I do believe some heads will roll over this. We all learned things never known before. People learned about protecting their pipes, conserving energy, sharing and compassion. There was something we all could do to help even if we never made contact with another person. Those that did reach out to others made humanity shine just a little. There’s a lot of smiles out there, a lot of friendly people who are being just a little bit more kind now that the shock of the disaster is almost over. I think a lot of people, myself included, saw another side of the citizens of this city. The people were the strength, not the government. We know who we can trust now. I think I’ll look at things with a slightly different perspective. It’s easy to take things for granted and think people are not nice, but when the chips were down, it was the people who came through for each other. Bravo! I’m so proud of my neighbors in this town. Way to go!

Happy 17th Birthday, Mimi

She made it! We were wondering, with her health history, if she’d even make another birthday. But she surprised us by sailing on by as if it were nothing. Since she is the nervous type we didn’t take her shopping but she had a lovely car ride. We put her in a cute pink dress that says “Happy girls are the prettiest” and took her to Starbucks first for a puppychino. Then, we went to Sonic and got hamburger patties and a cup of ice cream. Of course, she greeted all the servers and inspected every menu. She smelled all the smells, got some strategic barking in, and basked in the breezes from the open window of each stop. She loved it all; I took all kinds of pictures just in case this really is her last birthday.

All else has quieted down a bit. Zoe’s tummy seems to have calmed down and she’s off a lot of the medications. She is on prescription food and takes an arthritis pain medicine, then Pepcid every 12 hours. The culprit we think (and the vet agrees) was the probiotics that were bloating her up. We thought we were helping with prescription probiotics. Learned something new. The vet (new one that didn’t prescribe them) says she has another client who had issues with gas while taking probiotics. She says she doesn’t prescribe them at all. We still think she has a sensitive stomach but it’s far less now. Fingers crossed she will not go back to being so sick. Too bad there’s no prescription for being spoiled rotten.

I’m trying to get myself motivated to sew again. I won’t know if my vision is good enough if I don’t try. It will be months before it’s any better. I’ve got to wean off the eye drops and maintain/reduce the inflammation that remains. I go to the retina specialist again next week so we’ll get an update. I’m going to him monthly now and to the ophthalmologist every three months. So I don’t get as many updates as I once did. I just do my drops and go on with whatever I want to do. I’m so tired of being stuck in the recliner the majority of my time; I’ve got to get more active again; I feel so tired all the time. And discouraged. And old…I had another birthday in January. I’m at the age where I have to subtract to see how old I am. Age has stopped mattering. Once you’re retired and established as such, there aren’t a whole lot of surprises left. LOL

Today the house cleaner and the yard man are here at the same time. We ought to be pretty inside and out after this. I have the girls in the office with me to keep them from being underfoot of the cleaner. If we start having someone come more often we’ll let the girls get used to her. Right now, Mimi is barking (She can’t hear much so she barks a lot. I wonder if it works like sonar.) One is in the dog bed. One is on my lap. One is under my desk. One is wandering around being a blithering idiot and the last one is laying down staring at the door like it will magically open if she barks at it. I love this life!

Happy 8th Birthday, Zoe

Yep, all 4 pounds of her turned 8 years old Wednesday. She’s been such a sweet little baby doll all these years. She had so many health issues when we first got her that we weren’t sure she’d make it through the first week, but look at her now! We took her to PetSmart shopping and everyone (customers and staff) had to ooh and aah about her. The lady from the grooming salon came out to see her. She said she was “perfect”! I agreed! Children had to hold her. Everyone stopped to talk to her. It was a good birthday.

She is still having tummy issues and we’re still trying different combinations of food and medications to see if we can pinpoint the cause. She is good all day but after dinner on some days she bloats up and has gas pains. She’s just miserable. We’ve tried increasing the amount of meals, changed to prescription food, probiotics, stool softeners, gas meds, acid meds, and motility meds. She is now exactly where she started 3 or 4 months ago. I think it’s motility-related but something else is affecting her digestion. I keep remembering how I felt when I had ulcers; belly problems are no picnic!

Other than that we’re hanging in there. Mimi got shots yesterday and a change in medication. Gypsy and ZsaZsa go the first of February. My vision has stabilized; still doing 2 drops 4 times per day, which is a pain but manageable. He tried to start weaning me off them but I reacted immediately so I’m back to 4 times per day. He says he’ll get me off of them eventually. I’m hoping he’s right.

We Survived 2020

We’re settling into a new routine with the canine aspect of the family. They’re all shifting focus, growing and learning that things can operate in a different way than when Dusty was here running the show. We miss him terribly but I’ve stopped crying daily; I’m down to about 4 times a week now. Zoe is still having tummy issues and we’re very worried about her. She’s on a lot of medicines and they seem to control it most of the time but we have no reason for her being this way with her digestion. She’ll turn 8 years old on January 20th; I hope we get to keep her for a long, long time. Mimi will be 17 on January 30, so what does that tell you? We’re on borrowed time already. We’re trying to spend some quality time with her while we can. She has almost no hearing left; her eyesight is failing and now she’s beginning to exhibit some dementia (self diagnosed) symptoms. She’s still eating but in weird ways. She gets a bite then runs off. Then she comes back for another bite, however, that may be after she goes for a walk in the backyard or walked around the living room. The other dogs try to eat her food when she leaves her bowl which causes us stress because we have to shoo them away and protect her food. She is still eating and maintaining her weight but we’ve started feeding her bigger amounts per meal. Time will tell, I suppose.

Khandi has found out that since the little Dusty Tyrant is not ruling Mom’s lap, she can get up there and cuddle in the blanket. ZsaZsa is always under the blanket and Zoe is usually on top of it but there’s room for more now. ZsaZsa has stopped looking before she gets in my lap. Dusty used to nip her nose if she got too big for her britches. He always thought I belonged exclusively to him and he could make the laws about occupancy of my lap. I corrected him about it but some things were not learned perfectly. He was a sweet little tyrant; I miss him terribly. Gypsy, who left our laps years ago (she’s very jealous and conceited; she doesn’t walk, she struts with head held aloft LOL) has begun to allot some time to our laps. It does no good to call HER; she comes when SHE wants to and not before. She has always been different, even as a puppy. She was born in the middle of our bed, the runt of three. Her mom, Lita (Lolita), was a cinnamon-colored deer-head Chihuahua who had been abandoned. She was beautiful, looked like velvet and acted like she owned everything and everyone. Her baby daughter is a different color (she is black/white like her daddy) but the same disposition. But we love on her every time she lets us and that has become every day now. Who knew?

So that is our canine pack now: 5 opinionated, spoiled, aging girls (3 Chihuahuas, 1 chiweenie and a schnoodle (Schnauzer and poodle designer dog), all rescued, all precious, all with their own personalities, foibles and idiosyncrasies…just like us.

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