Monday, March 30, 2009

An eventful weekend

Today is my 69th birthday. Where oh were has the time flown? I was talking to my oldest greatgranddaughter this morning. She will be 12 the end of April. It occured to me that the years since I was 12 have been so very short. At 12, I was living in Kansas on an old farm. We had very little in material goods, but much in rich experiences. I spent a lot of time fishing, jigging for frogs (their legs are great fried up), spotting cotton tail rabbits along the hedge rows for dad to shoot, and helping mom in the garden. You would as likely find me upside down in a tree as much as any other position and I took up landscape painting, using odds and ends of paint left from jobs my dad had completed. He painted and remodeled houses for a living. At 12, I nearly drowned in the Arkansas River while scouting an area near the shore to see if it was shallow enough for my younger siblings to wade in. They roared with laughter when I went under, because my hair got wet. I had stepped into a 20 foot hole left from sand dredging. It was probably my anger at being laughted at that helped me get out of it. I never did really learn to swim. Yes, I remember being 12 as if it were yeaterday. Being 69 is hard. My arthritis makes it hard to many of the tasks I used to do very difficult, especially those requiring fine motor skills. Still, I have many memories and plan on making a few more.
Some friends came over on Friday night to help celebrate my special day. We sat around and talked and had strawberry shortcake and coffee. We don't do that half as much as any of us would like. It was nice. On Sunday, our church class gave me a card and sang happy birthday to me. After church Shelley and Dianna prepared a wonderful lunch and gave me flowers and tools for the garden. They will be put to good use as I establish the beds for this year's crop.
Today, I am taking it easy. Dinner will be from the freezer. I have heard from several members of my family, wishing me well and expect to hear from still more before the day is done. I love hearing from all of them. Each is special in their own way.
The bad news this weekend is that my brother-in-law, Richard's brother John, was in a horrible accident on Saterday evening. He was lighting his bbq when it blew up in his face. He is in an ICU burn unit, air medivaced some 4 hours driving time from his home. He suffered 3rd degree burns over about 25% of his body, primarily to his head, arms, and upper torso. He is facing many surgeries and skin graphs and is heavily sedated. We will know more in a few days. Please be in prayer for his complete recovery and for his family. His wife is living in a hotel close to the hospital for now. This is devestating to the entire family. John is 73. We visited with them for a week this past Sepember while on our road trip.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

It is finished

The sewing room is as done as it is going to get this year. A bed is set up for Dianna, the sewing desk is large enough for both her's and my sewing machines, and I have already made a curtain for the window. While the closet in the room itself is filled with fabric, there is a totally empty closet at the foot of the basement stairs that is available and cleaned out for her use. All of the storage bins and boxes she had in the family room have been moved to one end of the sewing room, leaving the family room for her to use as a kitchen/living room. Yes, it is finished for now. There are a couple small details that will wait for another time (ie. trim around the pump closet door and maybe a false wall on the east side).

Friday, March 20, 2009

Carpet & Paint

On the left, the dark stained look is the before (well almost) shot. I had started painting prior to taking this photo. The built-in shelving is now an off-white and the beam is the same color (beige) as the walls. The mottled blue carpet has just enough of the same beige to really tie it all together. The baseboards are braced to allow the liquid nails to set on the concrete walls. The base boards against the sheetroack walls are nailed in place. My room has been blessed and will serve as a bedroom/sewing room for the next several months. Rick will be here tomarrow and he will finish the ceiling and help me move in the furniture. Only then can I really start to "clean" the basement. I had vacuumed and dusted between tasks once before, only to have the guys start sanding mud again with the door open. The family area did look fairly decent for a couple days though. Timing is everything. Dianna moves back on April 1.
We have had several rounds of medical and medical-related visits this week. On Monday I met with a group of Medicare experts and together we are researching for a process of getting the government to cover the cost of handicap accessable bathroom equipment. It is getting more and more difficult for Richard to get into and out of the bathtub. We also had an appointment to order new diabetic shoes for Richard. On Tuesday he had another Dr. appointment. Wednesday was busy, but no appointments. Thursday he had a morning appointment with the VA in Eugene and an afternoon appointment with his gastroenterologist. Today he had to go into the hospital for some lab work. I'm glad not every week is this hechtic.
My garden is growing well. The peas I planted in mid-February are just breaking soil and all the dafodils are in blumb. One of the flowering cherries is blossoming too. It actually is begining to feel like spring. The grass really needs a hair cut. Maybe this week end, if it doesn't rain.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Almost There

Over the past week many changes have taken place in my sewing room. The built-in shelves have received 3 coats of paint, the doors were already white so only got 2 more coats. The walls were spray painted with 2 coats of baige paint. I pulled off the problem ceiling patch that had no support and replaced it. Today the carpet will be laid and the mop boards installed. This may seem a bit premature, since the ceiling has neither been mudded or painted yet. But there is a reason for it. None of the crew working on this project, including me, can manage the mudding of a ceiling. Let's be real. We are all getting older and we all have physical restrictions. One a bad back, another a bumb shoulder, and me arthritic hands and wrists. So our son Rick has agreed to take on that chore. He requested that the carpet be in place when he arrives this weekend. We can cover it with plastic to protect it from paint and mud. Then while he is still here, he can help move in the furniture. This project has taken on a life of it's own and ended up involving so many. I thank God for willing hearts and for willing hands. May He bless each and every one who has contributed labor, materials, and funds. Working together, they have accomplish what I could not do on my own. I can hardly wait to post photos of the finished room.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I Need to Explain

I have been told more than once that I have a very dry sense of humor. I find humor, not in the slap-stick or blatent, but rather in the ironies and subtleties of life. Those small things that we all have in common. Like doing the mending. No, I do not hate mending. In fact, my whole life is based on one form of mending or another. I love to take old furniture and refinish it. I get a kick out of using scraps to make something beautiful and useful. My two working careers were all about helping mend people's health and improving the environment we live in. I even started a ministry that encourages others to help one another when in crisis (both major and minor). Mending is actually a pleasure, a small task that extends the life and usefulness of fabrics. I merely used it as a metaphor for life.

The old door I brought into the house from a leaky shed for the guys to use in my sewing room is a good example of mending. It had several coats of old peeling paint on it, as well as dirt from having been used, re-used, and then stored for many years. The guys laughted and made jokes and even had serious thoughts about tossing it. But it is a solid door. It just needed a lot of TLC. I put in several hours on that door. First washing, using a paint scraper, and then a lot of sanding. At that point the guys hung the door, still they had reservations. But yesterday I did a final sanding, wiping down, and finally applying two coats of fresh new paint. Even now it doesn't look new. But I don't want a new door in my 87 year old house. It would look out of place. I think this old door looks pretty good for it's age.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Updates - never ending

I live in a house that is not finished. In fact, I have lived in this same house for nearly 40 years and it has never been finished. Many changes, remodels, updates have been finished, but never can I say that everything has been completed all at the same time. Right now I am focusing on my sewing room. But many other projects have just a little something to be accomplished in order to declare them finished. There are still others that have gotten started but for some reason, money, energy, physical ability or time have sat unfinished for way too long. Will any of them ever be complete? Is it just me or is it God's way of keeping me dependant and hopeful? I may never know. What I do know is that every once in a while, something is accomplished that brings the goal closer. I may never see it happen in the natural, but God has given me the grace to visualize it in my mind. I am humbled by this gift.
My house can be easily compared with life. We start our journey with a vision and a goal. This vision may, or may not happen. Many things can occur that will prevent us from reaching our original goal. Some we have control over and many more we do not. These curcumstances distract us or change the direction in which we go. We may sometimes need to stop and regroup, take a detour, or perhaps even find a new path altogether. Life is full of unfinished or altered projects, but there are enough completed ones to give us hope and keep us going foreward. After all, life is not finished until God calls us home - our new and wonderfully completed heavenly home.
Today I will do a little painting in my sewing room. No, the walls and ceiling are not yet ready for paint. The mud has not been applied and when it is, will require at least another day to dry before painting. The guys working on this project are growing weary. Other commitments are catching up with them that they need to address. I am not at all sure when they will get around to working on my room again. But in the mean time, I can paint the doors. I must look for what I can do and not not focus on what I or others can not do. After a month, yes it will be a full month tomarrow since this project began, I am getting anxious to hang a curtain, bring in furnature and maybe do some mending. Is that crazy or not? Who ever heard of someone wanting to do the mending?
Then there is the contractor that was going to work on my master bath. He has officially backed out. He just has too much to handle taking care of his 87 year old dad. This is a mature and proper setting og priorities, but which path do I divert to now? I guess I'll just take it slow. I have an appointment with Medicare next week to explore the possibility of getting federal help to make the bathroom handicap accessible. I'll see where that leads before making any other arrangements. On the positive side, out of three bathrooms in the house I do have one that is functioning. Thank God for all blessings both large and small.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pray for Philip

Our grandson Philip was adopted from Thailand when he was 3 years old. He was a special needs child, born with a heart defect that was repaired when he was still an infant. His history has many unknowns, but this we do know. Philip was abandoned in a busy marketplace in the north of the country when just a few days old. He is probably of Chinese linage (he looks Chinese and there is a large Chinese population in that area). Someone had branded his thigh with a cigarette, a Chinese custom that indicates that he was loved. How very difficult it must have been to give up a child you love to an unknown future because of a serious physical condition you could not afford to have corrected yourself.
Over the past couple of years, Philip has had an increasing number of problems related to both physical and mental development. I won't go into these specifically, but needless to say, they have set off alarms. Doctors have been less than helpful, putting off these problems as possibly the result of fetal alcohol syndrome because nothing is known about his birth parents. How frustrating, but finally an MRI has indicated that something abnormal is developing in Philip's brain. Now they say it is not posing a threat to his life, so they want to study it and evaluate just what it is doing before any action is taken. Please hold Philip and his immediate family in prayer. Also pray for the medical community that will be conducting these additional tests and evaluating them. I know God can heal. I believe that He will heal. But Lord help my unbelief in the German medical care system.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Progress Report

Today there is progress to report for my sewing room. The well closet door has been installed and most of the taping and mudding of seams completed. As you can tell from the left photo, the seam between the closet and ceiling still needs some work. But I am beginning to think we may pull this off after all. These guys are not professionals by any means, but you have got to love their hearts. They are willing to tackle a challenge and keep at it even when nothing is plumb, level, or anything else you expect from a modern structure and it has already taken more than 3 times as long as they originally anticipated. My house is, after all, some 88 years old. The old girl may be getting on in years, but she still functions and has much more character than what you'll see built today. This little face lift just makes her even more charming. I can hardly wait to move furniture.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Our son Rick, in his mid-40s is planning to visit his sister Amy in Europe this spring. This will be Rick's first trip abroad. He has been a somewhat reluctant traveler, dragging his feet on both getting a passport and in looking for a good deal on a ticket. But I must say, he is finally getting excited about the whole thing. His passport has been ordered and yesterday he found an incredible fare on Lufthanza. It is a direct flight from Seattle to Frankfurt and return for well under $700, all taxes, fees, and insurance included. That is much better than I have ever found and I have made the trip more than 1/2 dozen times. Way to go Rick.
There is no doubt that Rick will come back filled with excitement. Not only will he be taking in some sights in Germany, but will also travel with Amy's family to Cyprus for 10 days. I anticipate he will be bubbling over with stories and filled to the brim with new ideas for painting murals. Don't you just love it when your kids are really happy? Nothing warms my heart more than to hear the voices of my kids filled with excitement.
Richard and I will be holding down Rick's fort, so to speak, while he is away. It will be too early in the year for Preston to go with him. School isn't out until mid-June. It will give us a break from all the work around here too. Of course it will still be here when we get home, and more.