Friday, December 25, 2009

Fridays are Golden


Our first artificial Christmas tree works just fine for us. The star atop the tree was made by our son when he was in kindergarten. It has always been on the tree, but never as a tree topper.

The tree is just fine, and this has been a wonderful Christmas morning. We are so grateful for our many blessings, far too numerous to count.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Finally, a Royal Flush

Tuesday, December 22...a day that will stay in our minds for a long, long while. That was the day that Arnold FINALLY delivered on his promise to see us first thing in the morning. That was the day we could finally run water in our drains rather than pouring it our over the deck like great-grandma used to do. After four days of flushing only when necessary, and we really mean NECESSARY, we can use our bathrooms. Have you ever spent four days without a shower? What an event that was for both of us.

The injured player is making phenomenal progress. Our kids are on the way home for Christmas. Simply put...we are happy as a couple of chickadees.

And the fortunes of sunshine give us as much uplift and color as this sweet Pileated Woodpecker seeking a bite to eat.

The snow is melting although there is still plenty lying around. Exhaustion has given way to extreme happiness that we are doing as well as we are. Life indeed is beautiful.
Thank you all for your supportive comments and thoughts. We have so much to be grateful for and we are definitely counting each blessing we have.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Good Luck and Bad Luck

I knew exactly what it was Saturday morning when I came back from walking the dogs. There's no other sound just like it and few sounds more sickening. Nevertheless, I put my boots back on and tramped through the foot-deep snow to the space underneath the house where the sewage lift pump resides.

Amazing, isn't it? You know what the sound is; you know its origin; you hear it get louder as you approach the space; and yet you are still hoping that somehow, someway it's something else. Nope, it was the sewage pump alarm. Traipsing back upstairs to the garage to turn off the breaker to stop the alarming, I noticed the breaker to the pump was tripped.

Hey...maybe that's it. Just a tripped breaker. That could be it, couldn't it? So I flipped the breaker to "off" and then to "on" at which time it immediately tripped again. So much for hopeful thinking. Oh, did I mention it was on Saturday morning with a foot of snow on the ground (and on the roads)? I gathered my courage, smiled faintly and told my husband that we had a little problem. I sounded a little less calm than the folks who said, "Houston, we have a problem."

The details you can imagine. All service folks were snowed in. One service finally made it out to us on Sunday afternoon, but did not have a new pump on his truck. He promised to get a pump and come back today.

So, for two full days (and working on a third) we have not run any water down any drains since they are all connected to the pump station, and we are flushing VERY sparingly. I feel like the old pioneer woman, running a little water in a basin to "wash up," then pouring it off the deck onto the back yard. Our neighbors have offered to allow us to shower in their homes and while it sounds so tempting, one of us can't leave the house and the other would never be so selfish as to take advantage of a shower. (But give me one more day and see how charitable I still am.)

So yet another stoke of totally unexpected bad luck. Our daughter asked if we had any idea which Deity we might have angered so we could try to make amends. But in the scope of the world's problems, ours are small and insignificant. We're still smiling and laughing since the other alternative is to cry.

We are more fortunate than the thousands here in western NC who are still without power. At least we do have access to hot's just that we can't pour any of it down the drain. We have plenty of food and two dishwasher drawers. I've started washing plates as we use them so at least we don't have to use the good china. Would you believe we don't have a paper/plastic plate in the house?

And I totally believed Arnold (the plumber) who assured me that as soon as the vans were running and he found a pump he would be at my house. After all, it's only 11:00, and I know he will fix everything. It's only 11:00 so I'm sure he is getting things ready. After all, it's only 11:00, right? After he is finished, I'll clean the dishes and tonight I'll have a hot soak with the jets surging. Because Arnold just didn't look like the type to disappoint me.

Meanwhile I have two lovely dogs to cheer my up. And today we have a Purple Finch visiting us in the bright sunshine. The birds are flocking to the feeders as the snow has covered a lot of their natural food.

I finally assembled our little artificial tree and it's not such a bad little tree after all. So life is good. And it's only a little after 11:00.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fridays are Even More Golden

With a big "Thank You" to the powers that be, and an even bigger "Thank You" for all your kind words and thoughts, we are all safely home. The emergency over, we are looking to a rather long but complete recovery. The girls love their pet sitter, but they are delighted to have the whole family together again.

With kitchen stools to protect the injured player, the Golden Girls come as close as they can to get some affection and give support.

Lucy quickly established herself under the footrest of the recliner. She considers this her own little den.

I don't care so much for these light-weight covers. Would you put the quilt back?

Thanks, I'll lie here and make certain everyone is safe.
Yes, Lucy. I can see how alert and protective you are.

And lookee here! It's snowing! Dang...I was FINALLY going to get my hair cut today!

So we approach a rather different Christmas this year. For the first time we will have an artificial tree which is still in a box in the garage. Too many gifts were ordered Online. But you know what? After an unbelievable year of surprising and totally unexpected health problems we are all just fine. We look forward to having our children home and it will be (as always) the best Christmas ever. And the daylight hours begin to increase on Tuesday morning!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Family Emergency

Just when you think everything is going fine...well, you know the rest. At any rate we have a family emergency that is going to require much of my time. So I will have to take a blogging break for a while.

I would ask each of you to communicate with the Deity of your choice and ask that things go well for us. If you have no Deity, then we would appreciate positive thoughts. Rest assured that the emergency is not life-threatening.

I'll try to read your blogs as time (and Wi-Fi access) allow and I will be thinking of you and feeling the good vibes coming from you. Bless you all as you give thoughts for us.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fridays are Golden

We finally had a respite from the rain. A good opportunity to do some outdoor holiday decorating. The Golden Girls are delighted when we are with them in the front yard and they can be off lead. During colder weather we don't spend a lot of time sitting in the yard, so they usually walk through on their way to a walk and don't get to investigate anything.

Lucy investigates the sleds on the front porch. My husband's childhood Flexible Flyers are decorated with red bows. Both the short one and the long one were obviously much used and much loved. We hung a pair of ice skates on them in Wisconsin, but that seems a bit out of place here in NC. Given their ages they qualify as antiques. (How scary is that?)

Ellie is always more careful investigating new things. She approaches more cautiously. Lucy is already bored with the sleds since they don't do anything for her, so she turns away to await the next adventure.

Ellie catches the scent of some animal who passed by during the night. She is quite attuned to smells and we call her our scent hound.

In a rare moment of quiet, Lucy sits and smiles for the camera. Lucy is very active and retains a lot of puppy qualities. Sometimes that is really cute; sometimes not so cute. She's four years old now and apparently has no plan to grow up.

As we prepare to go indoors, Lucy turns and smiles as if to say, "Oh, don't you just love the holidays!"

Oh, yes dear Lucy. We do indeed love the holidays...the religious and the secular. We love the decorations, the music, the food, and the warm glowing holiday feelings.

I hope that you will enjoy whatever holiday you celebrate this month. Keep in mind that there are many opportunities for you to help those in need both here and abroad. I hope you will take advantage of them and give as much as you can.

Have a wondeful weekend and don't stress out. It will all get done so take a little time each day to sit with the beverage of your choice and just contemplate upon how fortunate you are. And enjoy that holiday feeling.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bright Spot in a Grey Day

I like rain. I like misty mornings with the fog rolling in. I love the mountains shrouded with fog, and fog lying in the valleys with mountains rising above. Surprising then, that I don't like grey days...days in which there is no obvious mist or fog, no rain...just grey skies completely filled with clouds.

Monday was such a day. There were several factors that made the day more grey than the color outside. It was the last day of November and I got that familiar "gut feeling" that I should be further along with holiday preparations. That afternoon I had to drive downtown to the dentist for a crown prep. When I got home I finished the remaining pages of a really good book. For some reason that puts me in a funk for a short while.

So I was sitting on the sofa, sipping my tea. I sighed and looked out the window. I saw a bright flash of red. It was my friend Mr. Cardinal. (With few exceptions, all the male cardinals are named Mr. Cardinal around here.)

Hello there, Mr. Cardinal. You are a lovely sight to see this afternoon.

Well hello right back, Lady.

It's so nice to see you looking so cheerful on such a dreary day. How's the missus?
I take it you haven't seen her yet. She's over on that tree all puffed up for some reason. You know how they are.

I looked and sure enough, there sat Mrs. Cardinal. And "puffed up" was certainly an appropriate description. She was disinclined to talk so I simply watched.

Suddenly a wind gust blew her topknot in the air.

She looked almost like a cockatiel for a second or two.

She seemed a bit startled by the wind's effect, but she didn't move from the branch upon which she sat.

Then she looked right at me.
Well, Lady. Do you understand why I'm not so pleased with the hair thing? The old man just doesn't get it. It's enough to make any woman huffy.

Yes, Mrs. Cardinal, I do understand. I know exactly what you mean. If it helps, I think you are still lovely. Thanks for dropping by.