Uggh- where has the time, and the summer, gone?

I just checked my blog to see that it has been MONTHS since I’ve posted anything.  I’d like to blame this on something that seems like a really good reason- but there truly isn’t anything to blame it on.  Well, except that it’s been horribly hot and therefore we’ve not done much so there wasn’t anything exciting to report on.

But, there has been a little more excitement over the last few months that I can report on in a full-length blog post.  So, here goes!

In early April my brother David came to visit for a few days.  We had an absolute blast, as we always do, and I hope he can come back to visit again soon!

In May, Russ’s parents came to visit.  The last few times they were here we dashed all over the place- this time their visit was more low-key.  We didn’t do much in the way of “sightseeing”, although we did take them to see Joplin, Missouri (which is about 25 miles from our house) and showed them how the town was wrecked because of the tornado.  While there we ate dinner and then went to Downstream Casino- Russ and I gambled while they sat in the bar and enjoyed the band.

Oh!  And my matchmaking skills have worked once again!  This time the lucky ones I matched were Klista Bray and Loyd Bateman (they were matched last October).  I’ve known Klista for well over 20 years, Loyd I’ve known for about 4 (although I’ve known several members of his family for 15+ years).  Klista asked me to be her maid-of-honor, and Loyd (aka Russell – talk about confusing when we’re talking about “Russ”!) asked Russ to be his best man (his reasoning was that it was because of us that they met.).  The wedding day is September 21st, so in-between all of the crazy things going on listed below, we’ve been working on wedding stuff.  This is her 3rd wedding, so things will be “low-key” (or that’s the hope, anyway.  If the parents will stay out of it, I think we’ll be okay!).  She wants to have her reception at our concert venue on the property, so we’ve been brainstorming as to how to turn it from a place where Hard Rock/Metal concerts take place (and it’s decorated for) to something suitable for a wedding.  I think we’ve brainstormed and planned our way into something wedding-like – I HOPE anyway.  Regretfully there are going to be guys on ladders doing magic from the rafters down starting in early September.  They just don’t realize that yet.  🙂

On May 29th we saw the doctor for a bad cold that Russ had.  I felt fine- until June 1st.  I started getting a cold and just feeling like warmed over death.  Russ, by this time, was over it.  On June 4th I was so congested (lungs and nose) that I could only pant like a dog, and I felt like I was coughing up both of my lungs at the same time every few minutes- and I felt like I was going to die in general.  I called my doctor and he called in some antibiotics and some cough syrup (since the over-the-counter stuff wasn’t working) and my neighbor went to pick it up.  She walked in and was quite alarmed at what she saw, but I assured her I was okay.  Honestly, I felt if I convinced myself I was okay, I was going to survive.  On June 11th I saw my pain specialist (she deals with my wreck-related medical issues) and she FREAKED when she saw me.  I’m still sick, I’m still coughing up a lung (I had run out of the prescription cough syrup and my GP wouldn’t prescribe any more) and I still can’t breathe.  Instead of her focusing on my pain stuff, she focused on keeping me alive.  I was sent for a breathing treatment, then sent to X-Ray; when I got back to the exam room she shoved the X-ray up on the screen and said, “See this?  See THIS?” and told me that I had double pneumonia and shouldn’t be anywhere but IN BED.  Because I was SO congested she prescribed at home breathing treatments for me (6x a day, for 21 days).

On June 16th, we drove to Chicago to see our friend, Jonathan Coulton, perform.  When we got to Chicago it was beautiful outside.  I’m still sick at this point, so I slept all the way to Chicago, but I had enough energy to be interested in wandering around a bit before the show.  Before the show we went to Lou Malnati’s for dinner, and then headed to the Double Door for Jonathan’s show.  As we got to the door of the venue (we were there early), Russ remembered we had some stuff in the car we needed Jonathan to see- so, since I’m in the electric wheelchair, I got to dash the 6 blocks back to our car and get the stuff.  On my way back to where Russ was waiting, I ran into Jonathan and he asked where Russ was.  Apparently Jonathan had managed to miss him (shocking, huh?) and told me that he’d see us after the show.  Sometime during the show I heard something odd- almost like thunder, and happened to look outside to see it absolutely POURING down rain.  This was at the beginning of the show.  We hung around for an hour or so after the show- it’s STILL pouring, so we rushed back to the car and tried to dry off a bit before getting to our hotel.

After a few more days of breathing treatments on my part, we headed to Dallas on June 19th to see Queen Extravaganza, which was essentially a cover band of Queen (handpicked by some of the original Queen band members).  Before seeing the show at Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie, we had a late lunch with Russ’s co-host on the Linux in the HamShack podcast.  Actually, Richard and his girlfriend, Brenda, had that lunch with us at Pancho’s Mexican Buffet.  We’re foodies, but sometimes you just gotta eat something cheap and totally not good for you.  Pancho’s fits the bill on both!  We had a good time (as we always do), then we headed off to the show.  The show was great, and we got back to our hotel VERY late.  The next day, before heading back to Missouri, we made a quick trip to IKEA (I needed some stuff, like knäckebröd, which is a hard rye cracker that is a staple in Sweden- Russ and his parents have gotten me hooked on them!) and then we had lunch at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria at Watters Creek in Allen, Texas.  Russ loves Grimaldi’s and this was my first trip there.  I hate to say, it could have been better.  Their restaurant was just barely handicapped accessible, and the only table I could get to left me blocking traffic trying to get to other tables.  I was less than amused.  BUT, we survived and headed home.

I finally got over my cold/pneumonia thing around the 4th of July- thank goodness!  It was a long month of suffering through that junk, and I was glad to be over it!

Russ left for OSCON in Portland, Oregon on July 15th.  Before he found out he’d be attending the conference, he had bought tickets to see the Indigo Girls in St. Louis on the 21st of July and tickets to see the St. Louis Cardinal’s on the 22nd.  So we had to find a flight that would get him back into St. Louis before the Indigo Girls show.  We decided he’d fly back on Friday night (after attending classes all day on Friday) and get some sleep before the show on Saturday (when he goes to conferences, he typically goes to ALL of the education things he can get to, and that stuff runs from 8am until midnight or later- so he was pooped by the time he got back to St. Louis).  Since his flight was really late getting into St. Louis, we ended up having sliders from White Castle for dinner, but we were supposed to have lunch with our friend, Jennifer, on Saturday, so I wasn’t too concerned about it.  We never heard from Jennifer on Saturday, so we ate a late lunch at PF Chang’s, stopped at Serendipity Ice Cream and then headed to The Pageant for the show.  During the show, Jennifer texted me and wanted to know what was up and why we didn’t connect for lunch.  Apparently, much to the dismay of both of us, Facebook failed us in our attempt to get in touch with each other on Friday.  After the show, we were dallying around at The Pageant and I met Kimberly Lambert.  We chatted for a few minutes, discovered we shared a passion for pets and then we headed back to our hotel… getting there just before the crack of dawn (or so it felt- it was about 3:30 when we went to bed).  We slept until we just had to get up and check out (of course, I was worried that we’d be late to the game!) and we enjoyed our game from our shady spot in the ballpark along the 3rd baseline.  The game was against the Cubs, which the Cards beat 7-0, so the game was rather ho-hum and was very short.  We were back in Springfield (where we ate dinner) by 7ish.

On July 27th, Russ had a small nervous breakdown when he discovered that in the period of about 24 hours our checking account had been completely drained.  He questioned me as to whether I had been on a major shopping spree (answer: no) and then where my debit card was (answer: wallet).  He called the bank and they cancelled my card and said we had to go into the bank on Monday to fill out the paperwork regarding all of these charges.  I’m sure the bank saw the weirdness of the debits- several hundred dollars in each transaction to places like Rite-Aid, Charlotte Russe, The Children’s Place, etc. and they were all in the New York City area (and they were charges that actually happened in stores, not online).  SO, we headed to the bank on Monday (we were there when they opened at 8am) to get the paperwork filled out and then we waited all week to see what their decision was.  On Friday we found out that the money was put back into our account- but with both of our cards being cancelled (security reason), we now have to wait for debit cards so we can use the money in that account.  I’m not really complaining about not being able to get to that money, it just means we get to “save” money for a while, but things we need money for are being put on credit cards (not happy about that).  I guess it will all come out in the end.

Then on August 3rd I went to lunch with Russ.  I woke up that morning with my back absolutely killing me, and a tightness in my chest; this isn’t unusual, as I’d been having this problem since that cold/pneumonia thing, so I wasn’t really panicking, but it has been getting worse and nothing was really helping with the pain.  Each time it has happened, though, I became a little more troubled.  At one point in my father’s life, he complained of having severe back pain- and within a week of that complaint, he was having a triple bypass, and mom had numerous stokes during her life- so heart issues are in my family.  After lunch it actually hurt to breathe, so I had Russ drop me off at the ER before he went back home to go back to work (he works from home on Friday), figuring I’d be there for several hours and he could come back when he was done with work.  I told them what was wrong (to me it felt like someone was driving a stake through my chest into my spine), and they immediately did blood work and an EKG and sent me for a dozen X-Rays.  After a few hours of laying there, wishing the pain would go away, the doctor came in and started quizzing me about stuff.  I told him about my parents and their heart issues, I told him about my car wrecks.  Then he told me what HE thought it was, since he KNEW it wasn’t heart related.  His idea was Spinal Stenosis… or a really bad case of Osteoarthritis.  He wasn’t sure, and said the only way TO be sure was to get a bone scan.  Regretfully I am both too tall and too fat to get a bone scan on any of the machines in SW Missouri, so now it’s a case of seeing if Kansas City or St. Louis has something that will work for me.  But, in order for me to get some relief from the pain now, I needed to take some Ibuprofen (which I have now determined should be considered A++ medication!) to help relieve the swelling in my back, which should relieve the pain (and it did, after 2 doses of it).

Of course, while I’m sitting in the ER in Monett, MO- I get a text saying that Klista (mentioned before) was in the ER in Springfield and is about to undergo emergency surgery.  Klista was always there for me when I had my first car wreck, hanging out in Intensive Care day-after-day annoying me with her silly jingle bell earrings (my wreck was near Thanksgiving and I was in ICU for numerous weeks), so I knew I needed to get to Springfield immediately.  I called Russ a few minutes after 5 to let him know I was being released- he finally got to the hospital at almost 6 (it’s only about 10 minutes from the house) because he was detained by work.  He got me all loaded up in the car and we made the beeline to Springfield.  We sat there until the doctor came out to let us know the surgery went okay- and then we left because we knew she definitely wouldn’t want visitors after surgery and we knew that Loyd would be there with her and let us know if anything changed.  I guess I should mention that Klista has been sick (VERY sick) for several weeks, and has lost a considerable amount of weight because she was unable to eat anything.  Come to find out, her gallbladder was caputz, and the doctor said she should start feeling better within a few days.  I spoke to her earlier, and she said other than being sore, she feels MUCH better.  Yay!

Of course, as I’ve been typing this, I found out another friend (Louis) is in the ICU at another hospital due to complications from his diabetes.  I’ve been a diabetic for the last 37 years (I was 3 when I was diagnosed) and I know that it’s not an easy road; of course, it’s easy to let yourself slide into Ketoacidosis, and it’s not easy to get yourself out of that rut.  I am unable to leave home today, but I plan on going to see him in the morning.  Obviously bad things happen in 3’s, so he should be the end of that.  I hope, anyway!

And, in the middle of all of this, we went from summer directly into nuclear furnace hot!  We never had a winter (it was more like spring when we should have had cold and snowy days) and our spring was more like summer.  Summer has turned into 100+ degree days (starting in May) and it’s just been miserable this whole summer.  A few days ago the high was 106.  Did I mention we live in the midwest… where high humidity is the norm?  Luckily we’ve not dealt with super high humidity this year (I think the heat has baked it out of the air), but we’ve still had 30-50% humidity on most days- so when it gets really hot, and it’s humid, it feels like you’re walking through a batch of pea soup.  Not good.  The air conditioning at the house died the week Russ was in Portland, Oregon.  The air conditioning at the house in Arkansas died last week (and he was without air for almost 2 days- in 100+ degree heat).  Everyone is dealing with air conditioning issues because our air conditioners are running non-stop, 24 hours a day, and have been for MONTHS.  It’s insane.

Okay, enough of my break from working on wedding stuff for Klista- so back to the grind!  I hope you enjoy reading the novel-length story I’ve written!  And I promise to be better about updating every few weeks instead of every 6 months!  🙂

Enjoy your summer!



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