Monday, October 3, 2016

Catching Up: Home Again

Yep, we're back. It was a short summer, not arriving in MN until mid July. We stayed long enough to see some fall color again, after missing it for a few years. Whatever they tell you to the contrary, you just don't get the colors in AZ. Bits of yellow, a bush here or there that actually gets red leaves. Otherwise the color palette is brown or green, unless you're counting the rocks.

I've been missing springs in the old MN yard. While taking a wiring class in the next town up there, the instructor asked if I was the one who owned the house I sold to my son. After explaining my relationship to that house/yard, she commented how much she loves the first signs of spring every year when the crocuses bloom in the yard. Me too. Then the blues of the scillas, the varieties of daffodils, tulips, violets carpeting the lawn by themselves for a week before the dandelions join then. Not to mention the blossom cycling of the various fruit trees. Yes, I mess them all. But it's too cold to head up there then, snow and ice still possible to slip on, lakes still frozen over some years and even with open water the fish have no appetites for whatever is on the end of Steve's line.

It was a frustrating summer for the most part. Cold, wet, short, skeetery (and we're talking very hungry skeeters!), and with mobility still somewhat limited. Yes, the knees are still improving, though I still stagger the first few steps after sitting a bit. The first knee is otherwise pain free now. The second knee still presents some problems, and not just that it's ten weeks behind the first in recovery, but just isn't quite as good. I've been working to do more walking, but the stamina is gone. A three block round trip on the bike trail, or shopping both ends of a WalMart exhaust me. And I'm still good for two naps a day.

That's without coffee, of course. Steve and I shared driving back over just three days, and I had a cuppa each morning, drove a couple hours, and slept while he took the wheel. Most days I didn't need a second nap, though we were both happy to hit the pillows in the motels. Each day was approximately 600 miles with no problems. Gaining 2 hours while coming home got us here with a bit of light and energy left for a bit of unpacking, opening up the house windows, and watering our plants. Steve took an extra hour to get the satellite system and DVR box functioning again, most of which was fighting with a voicemail system to manage to reach a "real human, you @#$%^%$#$%%$#$!"

The two real humans he finally managed to reach were very helpful.

The plants in the yard had various levels of life left. Even for here, it was a very dry summer. We first noticed the yellow bird of paradise was a pair of brown sticks. Then further exploration revealed the loss of a few agave plants to the lack of water. Now that's dry! We noticed one was failing when we left, so no real surprise there. The other two patches were babies with nearly no root systems that were kinda thrown in the ground and watered to see if anything would grow. All were from a box of offsets tossed over the fence last fall from a neighbor, so only labor and hopes lost. Maybe next weekend we'll head out shopping for replacements. Steve wants blue, like the dead ones were, but isn't fussy about trying to match the variety. That makes it easier.

I was going to take a shower yesterday. Even though we never actually get cold water here, without the gas turned on yet, we don't get water warm enough for a shower either. I settled for getting as wet as that first blast of water got me. The gas guy came out today, so the water heater is working now. Things will be better shortly.

There was minor in-house stupidity disaster this vacation. Totally my fault. Back during surgery times, I made a pair of ice packs following the recipe given out by the joint clinic. It's a mix of dish soap and isopropyl alcohol, double bagged in Ziplocs, and frozen until use. A wrap of a dish towel keeps it from getting too cold on bare skin. After 4 1/2 months - or less - the packs leak. While still at least semi-frozen, it's not much of an issue. Of course once the power gets shut off.... Well, the stupidity involved (1) leaving them in the freezer (2) without putting them inside something like, oh, a cake pan, just to keep the leaks from covering a glass shelf, running down the back and sides, and working its way into places impossible to completely clean out.

I know. I tried.

The lower half of the freezer is very clean now. And still a bit soapy.

While I  cannot find any evidence of any kind of leaking or gap in the water tube that brings cold water to the front of the freezer door, no matter how many times I drain a full bowl of water from the system, the flavor of Dawn plus alcohol will not leave that water supply!  In case you had doubts, blecccchhhhh!

Everything else is fine. I worry about friends, however. They are on a long-planned cruise. On their last cruise, the Norwalk virus ruined the trip for them. Confined to their cabin, they couldn't even leave until all the other passengers had disembarked.

Now they're on another cruise. This time they're traveling from California to Florida, via the Panama Canal. Sounds great, doesn't it? Of course the timing will be critical. There's this little hurricane called Matthew that may still be a bit in the way of their return leg.

Maybe the ship stocks lots of seasickness meds?