Sunday, October 30, 2011

Starting Over

This has been a rewarding and a frustrating week:
I got the new trailer painted, but even though I sanded the metal, the "Rustoleum" paint I picked up is not sticking well to the old fenders. It said it would on the label, but so much for labels. I will need to try again with something else.

I bought a brown tarp and a grommet set and Chris installed three PVC pipe as ribs over the trailer. It will look like an old Conestoga wagon. He also attached hardware to the outside to attach the cover (tie it down) and rings to the inside to attach bungee cords that will secure the wheel chair on the inside. We will eventually get the cover on there. The ramp takes priority.

Chris worked hard to finish the ramp for the trailer. This was a challenge both in engineering and in physics. We worked out the engineering part, but the physics part needs to be re-thought. Basically, the ramp needs to be longer in order for the length to height ratio to be decreased. That will allow the chair to climb the ramp with less effort (i.e. we need to extend it).

We made the ramp the way we did (extended it, but not enough) in order to use the original tail gate. The gate needs to be lifted up from the "tabs" at the base and hooks that secure it to the sides. Since we need even more length, that system won't work. It will be too heavy and awkward for me to lift up. So we will need to cut off the bottom tabs and fasten the ramp to the trailer bed with heavy duty hinges. That way it can be raised and lowered without my needing to physically lift the whole thing up above the trailer bed. We may even rig a pulley system to help with the raising and lowering part. That would sure help my back.

The hitch and electrical harness was installed on Thursday. They did a good job, even though it was expensive. But the trailer is so old that the electrical attachment would not marry to the new harness. So I called a friend who is a retired electrician. He came over and took a look. Then he purchased (reimbursed of course) what he needed to fix it. But when checking the lights, not only were the bulbs burned out, the sockets were very rusty. So next day, he cleaned out the sockets and replaced the bulbs. He has also offered to install a power pulley system for the ramp.

So after Chris re-makes the ramp, (he's going to get so tired of this) I will park the trailer at my friend's house for a few days. He suggested that the motor from our old lift chair that is broken
would work for this project. Lord does provide. The chair was donated a few years ago and really came in handy during my recovery from a crushed leg and later knee surgery. But the chair it's elf no longer works. Recycling is really great, but I just hate starting over.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Out and About

We are Out & About, or at least somewhat, these days. First, Richard couldn't go walking with me because he just plain couldn't walk and I had trouble pushing his wheelchair on anything but level streets. Then he got a power wheel chair and we walked more. Now my foot is giving me trouble. So here is a temperary solution. I really don't like it because I have to constantly hold or turn the wheel of my chair to keep from running into the curb. But it did work.

There is a pond (Christal Lake) about 2 blocks from the house. More often than not, we make this pond our destimation. We throw dry bread to the ducks and nutria that make the pond their home.

With mild fall weather and leaves turning color, this wooded area is beautiful. Before long though, we won't be able to get out. So we will take advantage before the heavy rains and cold set in for the winter.

This guy doesn't see very well, but he makes up for it in hearing and smell. Nutria live here all year long.

Unlike the nutria, these ducks will soon be on their way south for the winter. We will see them again in the spring.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lots of "Small Stuff"

The world is made up of every day things, spiced with small stuff. We go about our routines not even actually taking note until something catches our eye, ear, or feelings. That is how life is.

This week Richard and I went for a run. Not your normal run, but a run none the less. I had been in the habit of walking with him as he scooted around the neighborhood in his new power chair. But one day last week my foot cramped so bad it took half an hour to get back home. I iced and elevated it, didn't walk any more than absolutely necessary for a couple days afterward. But this day, it was so nice out that Richard was chomping at the bit to go. So we tied my wheel chair (from when I broke my leg) to the back of his power chair and down the street we went. No, I don't have a picture.

Speaking of my foot, I saw the Dr. on Tuesday. He ordered x-rays and will study them to determine a course of action. If my joints are OK, they may go in and do some complicated procedures which will lay me low for about 5 months of recovery. However, this procedure would just make my foot more painful if those joints are eroded with arthritis. In that case the procedure of choice will be to shave a section of bone (the bunion) to relieve pressure on the nerve. Not as long a recovery (5-8 weeks). Neither procedure would correct my flat feet. Orthotics or a good arch support insert should help. By the way, I was told that bunions are hereditary, sorry kids. They develop over time and can be exasperated by wearing tight shoes. Wearing good shoes can slow the process (all my girls wear good shoes) but not entirely prevent it.

Back to Richard's power chair. We got a call yesterday afternoon telling us that someone will be by this morning to pick up the chair. They will replace the seat and return the chair tomorrow. He almost cried when he realized his only means of independent travel was disappearing. So he will take a run before the guy gets here and I will take him shopping for a new mattress this afternoon. This should take his mind off of his loss.

We have been looking forward to getting a new mattress for about 4 years, but just couldn't afford it. Well I got my annual annuity payment in the mail yesterday. Part of it has been dedicated to that mattress. Our old one (about 20 years old) gives me a back ache and Richard has actually slid off the side of it on more than one occasion. A new one is past due.

Amy, here is the recipe for beef stew that I promised:

Put 2 quarts of water in a crock pot set on low. Add 2 cups each of large chunked potatoes and carrots -1 cup each onions and peas. I just use frozen. It makes it real easy. Cut a really cheap cut of beef (about 1 lb) into 1/2 inch cubes. Add the meat and 8 cubes of boullion (beef or chicken) and let cook over night. If you want the gravy to be a bit thicker, mix 3 tablespoons of corn starch in 1/2 cup cold water and stir into the cooked stew. Allow it to cook for another couple hours. That is all there is to it. No additional salt or spices required. Just enjoy.