Saturday, November 24, 2012


I know I've been MIA for a while now, but there's been a lot going on lately.

Keith came to Houston on a business trip the second week of November and I decided to give him a ride back to Austin and stay and visit that weekend.  The weather was beautiful and we had a wonderful time.  I did manage to take a few pictures.

We went to a place called The Oasis which overlooks Lake Travis.  It was an overcast day, but still very pleasant.

I thought this statue was cute...

And this map of the United States made me laugh...

And Keith gave his elderly mother some apple juice...with brandy.  It's good for aches and pains.

And I had a nice visit with my grandcats...

Then I came home from Austin and didn't feel well for about a week.  Nothing got done around here for a while, but things are back to normal now.

Reid did have his appointment with the oncologist and his infusion that week and also saw the stem cell doctor again on the recommendation of his oncologist.  The mass had shrunk again, but it wasn't gone.  Based on that the oncologist felt he should now consider another stem cell transplant.  So, things are moving along in that general direction.  Reid is scheduled for another PT scan on the 30th and if the mass is still shrinking (and hasn't started to grow) he will probably be having a stem cell transplant using Keith's stem cells shortly thereafter.  They're talking about possibly admitting his sometime around December 12th.  Of course, all the other testing has to come through OK too.  He'll also be having the bone marrow aspiration on the 30th and Keith will have to come to Houston for more testing.  Then Keith will donate the stem cells and Reid will be admitted.

I believe he'll be in the hospital for around a month and then we'll have to live down in the Medical Center again for a while.  I'm not sure how I'm going to be doing all this with the dog and cats.  Last time Jim came home to let out the dog and feed the cats while I was at the hospital.  Keith and Troy tell me not to worry that they will help, but I do worry about EVERYTHING!

I did wrap Christmas presents last night and hope to get the ones out of state mailed this week.  Then I'd like to tackle Christmas cards.  I'd skip them this year except there are people that don't know that Jim died so I'd like to get them out.  There are lots of old friends that we only communicate with at Christmas.

On Monday the people will come back and finish the slab work (hopefully).  I called the flooring company and told them what's going on.  Hopefully, they can get a crew in to put down the new floor before things get any busier around here.  I'd like to get the house back in order.  Right now we have boxes piled all over the dining room.  And I need to take down the Halloween/Thanksgiving decorations.  I probably won't be putting up any Christmas things.  There's only so much time.

Reid and I drove to Brenham and met Keith for Thanksgiving Dinner.  Brenham is about half way between Houston and Austin.  It was a beautiful day and we had a very good dinner at a Brenham restaurant.  Then we found an empty table outside a closed coffee shop and played a game while we checked the Houston Texans football score on our phones.  What a game!  Reid and I listened to the rest of the game on the radio on the ride home and then watched the game that evening.  We had recorded it just in case the game was exciting.  It was!

I forgot the camera and took these pictures with my phone.  This is the empty table we found for our game.  In case you're wondering the game we played was Pandemic.

And this is Keith and Reid shaking hands the germ free way like Howie Mandel.  (We're becoming very germ conscious again with a possible stem cell transplant looming.)

I'll try and drop in from time to time with updates.  I just find myself kind of worn out in the evening and if I haven't had time all day to get online I just skip.  I've been doing that a lot lately.

I'm so tired of blogger and this new dashboard.  I had everything in this post evenly spaced and even though it looks OK once I hit publish it's all messed up.  I give up!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

"X" as in X-TRA work for Alphabe-Thursday

Yes, I know that's not how extra is spelled.  I'm just spelling it that way for Alphabe-Thursday and I already did X-RAY previously in another round.  So, today it's X-TRA as in lots of X-TRA work.

Even though I feel a little overwhelmed right now, my X-TRA work is nothing compared to what the people cleaning up after Sandy face.  I grew up in northern NJ and had lots of fun at the Jersey Shore.  It's heartbreaking to see what has happened to NJ and NY.  However, I remember Galveston after Hurricane Ike.  Our first ride down there after the storm convinced us that Galveston was finished.  However, we were very wrong and today you have to look for evidence of the storm.  I know Sandy was much more widespread, but I'm confident that NJ and NY will come back.

Now on to my X-TRA work.  In Texas most homes are built on concrete slabs.  Our soil is mostly clay which expands with moisture and contracts when dry.  This causes the house to kind of rise and fall.  Eventually the concrete slab cracks and the slab becomes very uneven.  I've heard them say that it usually takes 20 to 30 years for this to happen and large trees don't help the situation because they drink up so much of the moisture.  We keep soaker hoses around  the outside of the slab and water a lot during the summer, but sometimes that just isn't enough.

It was time for some more piers.  The piers go under the slab and help hold the house up.  They go deep into more stable soil and are adjustable.  We already have piers around the outside of the house and some inside, but this time we needed four more inside where the den and kitchen had fallen off.  What they do is come in and take up the carpet and use jack hammers to get through the concrete.  Then they take out lots of dirt and pour the concrete piers.  Right now the holes are covered with plywood while the concrete cures.  Then they'll come back in a couple of weeks and do all the jacking.  Afterwards, I'll have new floors put down.

I spent last weekend packing things up in the kitchen and den and moving them into the dining room.  I also covered a lot of things with plastic in hopes of cutting down on all the dust. You know how dust gets everywhere!  I especially didn't want to have to wash all the dishes and china in the dining room.

Here are some pictures of the dining room:

And I had to protect my dolls too...
Some stuff was piled in the entryway...
And I tried to protect all my cookbooks in the kitchen.  It would be a real drag to have to take them all down and dust.
After going through the concrete slab they brought out lots of dirt:
And then they started bringing the concrete inside:
Yes, right through the backdoor and into the den and kitchen:
Here's one of the holes in the den floor.  Most of the den furniture and carpet is under the plastic that you see to the left.  They added two piers in the den and two in the kitchen.
Then they put plywood on top of the holes and put the carpet back down.  We have two bumps now under the carpet in the den.  They placed plywood over the holes in the kitchen too.
I just have to remember to look where I'm walking for a while.  They'll be back in about two weeks to finish the job and I must remember not to break my neck in the meantime.

Then I'll have the same tile that I have in the dining room put down in the den, kitchen, utility room and hallway.  I really like the brick pavers I have in the kitchen, but I don't have enough extra this time to make repairs, so it will have to go.

I thought I'd try and be a lady of leisure the next two weeks.  No sense in cleaning or dusting until the job is done...right?

Please drop in on Ms. Jenny's blog for a list of other participants in this week's Alphabe-Thursday event.  Thanks!