Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him. (Oswalt Chambers)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thursday Already?

Thank you for your prayers and notes of encouragement. They mean so much to me during this "difficult time", as everyone rightfully calls it.

If it's Thursday, which it is, then it's been a week since I posted. And knowing that many of my blogging friends have been thinking of me and praying for me, I need to post something here to let you know I'm functional and busy.

In the past week I've arranged for retaining wall pavers to replace the crumbling cement retaining walls in the front of the house, a crumbling chimney tear down and rebuild before the weather gets too cold, and an estimate on a much needed makeover for the bathroom.

The tree service has been on vacation but should be back by now and I intend to bug him starting tomorrow about the willow tree.

I feel like I'm playing Beat the Clock with winter. (Anyone old enough to remember that TV show?) It's going to be a close race.

Many things have been cleaned out and hopefully blessed the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission and Goodwill, including a nineteen year old Jeep. There will be much more donating as I work through the house.

I'm working off adrenaline and haven't knit a stitch in a month. I realize this goes against Elizabeth Zimmerman's edict, "Knit on with confidence and hope, through all crises." I don't find crisis knitting soothing at all, so I've been trying to relax by reading and randomly jumping up to attend to whatever pops into my mind.

Walking the dogs should be a pleasure this time of year, but for the past month mosquitoes have been making outdoors miserable by swarming around my head every time I walk out the door. Some days I resort to Deep-Woods Off, but I hate putting it on. I can taste it and smell it even after showering it away. Nothing milder discourages them.

Glory's urinary tract infection returned and she's on antibiotics again - stronger and longer this time around. Pappy had an anal gland infection and if he's not better by next Tuesday he will get anesthetic and an anal gland infusion. Sunny is fine. She and I are spending some one on one snuggle time right now while the other two dogs are at the groomer.

I'm looking forward to the day when there is a "new normal". Meanwhile I'm getting a lot done. That's a good thing because I'm not going to relax until things are under control and I'm able to hibernate here for the winter with a safe chimney and a bathroom that doesn't leak.

I'll try not to go a week without blogging again, but promise nothing. This really is a "difficult time".

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Last Willow Makes a Mess

This has been a summer of many storms. Living where I do, that means power outages and branches down.

Last Saturday the last willow tree on our property (we're not counting all the willow shoots that are popping up where there used to be willow trees), split and thirty feet of it fell the length of the creek.

Two years ago I got an price for removing this tree. $2,000. It's location and all the surrounding water made for a difficult project. I decided to let it stand in hopes it would hold up until I moved out. Lost that gamble.

The lower right of the top picture is the bridge to the back three acres. There is about a foot wide where the dogs and I can still get across.

Everything is too heavy for me to move. The tree service has been called. They're swamped with urgent work and the owner is on vacation, so I won't get a price until next week sometime. Then the work can be scheduled and I hope it won't be too long.

This last picture was taken from the bridge looking down the creek.

Glory, who loves to wade into the creek multiple times a day, can no longer get down the bank. She's very unhappy about that. All the other places she might go in require walking in mud and/or muck and getting rinsed off with a hose before being allowed back in the house. Neither one of us likes that.

It could be worse. This tree was in power line range but fell in the opposite direction. Always something to be thankful for.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How Are the Dogs Doing?

People keep asking me, "How are you doing?" I don't have a good answer for that. The truth is that I'm doing OK considering this is only the start of the third week without Bob. But OK doesn't mean I feel anyway near normal. It just means I'm coping and getting the important things accomplished.

Grief has stages, so I may be doing OK today but maybe not so OK tomorrow? What do people want to hear when they ask that question of a new widow?

I'm probably way over analysing that question, so let's chance the subject and talk about how the dogs are doing.

Glory, the 60 pound almost 15 year old lab mix:

Glory used to sleep next to Bob's side of the bed. Since Bob's death she's been sleeping under the kitchen table or under a table in the living room.

The week before Bob died, we though we were going to lose Glory. She wouldn't eat and couldn't walk without help. Bob said the last sad goodby to her before I took her to the vet who diagnosed a urinary tract infection and 25% kidney function.

It only took two days of antibiotics and Glory was back on her feet, hungry and feeling as peppy as an almost fifteen year old lab can feel. It was so wonderful to be able to bring Bob's dog back to him for his final days. She's on a special diet for her kidney function now. Still, I suspect she won't be with me much longer.

Sunny, the 15 pound very mixed breed with advanced osteoarthritis of her spine:

Sunny has been sleeping under the bed instead of in the bed where she used to cuddle up next to Bob. She does occasionally cuddle up next to me at night and when I sit with the laptop. I can tell she misses Bob.

Pappy, the 15 pound very old Papillon rescued nine years ago:

Pappy has always been a needy dog, full of love and wanting to be with his people. He used to sleep on the pillow above my head and follow me around all day to be close whenever I would sit or recline.

Now he sleeps cuddled up next to me, which is a comfort and a blessing. He still follows me around all day and gets very nervous when I leave home. Sometimes he whines at me to settle down and snuggle with him when I am home.

I've read about dogs with separation anxiety, but never experienced it first hand. Dogs have personalities and smart dogs, like all three of mine, know when something is not right. Pappy is the least secure because of his history and sensitive personality.

I'm giving him lots of love and attention whenever possible. He's old, he had a difficult life before he came here to live, and we both need each other right now.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook for August 9

These writing prompts are available from Simple Woman's Daybook where each Tuesday we're invited to join in celebrating the beauty of everyday moments around us.

FOR TODAY August 9, 2011...

Outside my window...
The only feeder I have active is the hummingbird feeder. This time of year the birds have an abundance of natural food to eat. So do the hummers, but I like to see them and they buzz up and down in front of the window if I let them run out of food.

I am thinking...
Of all the things that need to be done - cleaning out, legal work, paperwork, and home repairs needed for a stress free winter.

I am thankful for...
My friends and family who have supported me during this difficult time.

From the kitchen...
An ant invasion. They are loving the poison, so it should be over soon.

The quarter in the middle of the plate is to keep it from blowing away if there's a breeze.

I am wearing...
Tan shorts and a blue tee. I dress very boring and always hate answering this question.

I am creating...
Another pair of BFF socks out of Stalwart Sock yarn from Slackford Studio. The color is Cote d'Azur, same color as an unfinished sweater that's waiting for sleeves.

I don't knit when under stress, so I haven't knit on them in over a week. Maybe later this week I'll pick them up and finish them.

I am going...
To keep living here for now. With three dogs my only options for moving are places I don't want to live. I'll be using the time to investigate condos and apartments in Kalamazoo.

I am reading...
Some of the early Spenser books by Robert Parker. I found them tucked in an end table. They're just the right amount of interest to take my mind off everything and eventually put me to sleep.

I am hoping...
To find someone to rebuild the chimney before it gets cold enough to turn the heat on. Phone calls have been made.

I am hearing...
The wind blowing through the trees. Somewhere, not too far away, there's a storm but the sky is still blue here.

Around the house...
I've taken several large boxes to Goodwill and have much more to go. I started with cleaning out things that Bob hasn't used or worn in a long time. Most of his more personal and/or used things are still sitting around.

One of my favorite things...
Asiago Peppercorn Steak from Applebees. Comes with red potatoes and broccoli and is labeled 550 calories a plate. Very tasty and guiltfree.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Social Security office to apply for death benefit. New crown installed on tooth followed by lunch with Mom. More cleaning out and sorting. Organizing for appointment with lawyer next week.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Beautiful flowers from John, Anne, and Sydney.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

A Week Later

Thank you all so much for your encouraging comments and especially for your prayers.

Bob has been ill for several years and lately had been failing rapidly. He was ready to move on to a new body and a better life. He died quickly and peacefully in his own bed, which is what he would have chosen if the choice had been his.

Son John blogged about Bob here.

Today Bob's obituary was in the Kalamazoo Gazette and the Battle Creek Enquirer. The best job of posting it online was done by the Paw Paw Courier Leader, here.

Even though I haven't knit a stitch or taken a picture in over a week, my intention is to start blogging again this coming week.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Bob Byrne

October 2, 1943 to July 31, 2011

Yesterday my husband of 36 years went Home to be with the Lord.