Friday, January 9, 2015

Life in the Slow Lane

I see my last post here on D.O.O.W. was already a week ago...definitely in the slow lane.  To say 2014 threw me off-kilter is putting it mildly, but I've been home for two full months, and one would think I'd be back in gear by now, yet I'm not.  I'm not sure if that still has to do with the grieving process from losing my mom, knowing I still have to contend with my dad's ongoing issues and trips back to the northern wet land, or just a build up of many issues these last few years.  What I do know is that motivation and enthusiasm aren't real strong right now, so things get put off and left undone and then they build up and that adds to the feelings of being overwhelmed and it seems an endless cycle.  I'm tired just thinking of all that needs to be done!

One specific thing that popped up while I've been home, and I'll try not to expend too many words on it, but about a month ago, I started getting sustained heart palpitations.  I went to my usual urgent care facility, which is also where my regular doctor is, but when you just walk in you see whomever is available and this time it was the Physician's Assistant (how does one formally address them? they aren't Dr.  So-and-So) who diagnosed them as PVC's (premature ventricular contractions) which typically are more bothersome than threatening.  She referred me to a local cardiologist for a stress test but when I went, her equipment wasn't working and I just didn't have a good feeling about her office and staff in general so did not make a subsequent appointment.  I found a different cardiologist; the appointment was yesterday.  I really liked him, his staff and his office set up - stuff like that is really important in my book!  I explained the stresses of this past year and gave my health history along with any family health issues.  He fit in a stress test while I was there.  During that test, my BP went up to 240/100 so they stopped the test and will do another one again in a couple months.  In the meantime, they fitted me with a 24-hour monitor (the top lead is so itchy!) and have me scheduled for further tests in February.  He recommended I take the usual baby aspirin dosage and take magnesium (oxide), which has a natural bp-lowering affect and wants me to continue monitoring my BP at home.  He doesn't think there's any reason I should postpone my trip back up to the wet land around the 20th.  

In other news, the furnace has been repaired as of yesterday.  There was a part that normally opens & closes and it was sticking closed, so had to be replaced.  All is good, and warm, now = happiness :)

After the cold snap of several nights with sub-freezing temperatures, I took inventory of how our outdoor plants survived.  Here are some photos of their really sad condition:

Jade plant, normally stands about three feet high, was looking very round and full and in bloom.  Very sadly drooping.

All of those fleshy 'petals' froze and are too damaged to recover.  If left alone, they will turn black, dry up and fall off.  If the main stem(s) weren't damaged too much, they will produce new growth and the plant will come back even fuller...unless I prune them back lower to the ground.

Some areas that weren't quite so exposed, were unharmed.  These plants get these clusters of star-shaped flowers (no fragrance) usually around December, but I think these plants actually were getting them in October this past year.

The second plant at the other end of the window is more exposed and suffered more damage.  It isn't dead, but sure doesn't look very pretty.

The geranium plant didn't fare very well either, though the "Red Apple" plant that hasn't been tended to all year did fine.  It doesn't belong IN the geranium pot, but not much has been maintained in these areas in my absences of 2014.

The aloe on the doorstep is fine - it's well protected, but does need to be cleaned up of the old dried 'leaves'.  That's a good-sized plant in a large pot.

In the back yard, the Schefflera suffered significant leaf damage, already turning brown.  It has long needed some maintenance and pruning, so it may finally get some...or not.

This 'frond' was the only one damaged on the large epiphyllum.  It's also long over due for pruning care.

The Naked Lady lily variety suffered as well.  The exposed leaves froze but it still lives.  I noticed a second plant was appearing a few feet away from the mother plant.  It's been planted here for about 17 years without much care other than to occasionally pull away the dead dry leaves.

I know this doesn't look like much, but if you note the far left corner you'll see a bit of green.  That's how this Airplane plant aka Spider plant aka Chlorophytum comosum 'Vittatum' plant is supposed to look, and I suppose there's a whole lot left under all the dead leaves, but most of the leaves that were exposed are now those dead, dark looking streaks in this photo.  This is one of those plants that self-propagates by sending out runners with baby plants, so it's virtually indestructible.  It will be back.

And what did I spy in my bulb pots?  New growth!  This is just one of them but all three or four pots had new shoots popping up. 

Oh Flame, I know you're not squawking at me; nice yawn!  Truly life in the slow lane.

Flame, stop laughing at me!  Flame and Raven enjoying a small patch of sun hitting the bed.  With double-paned windows, it's really hard to get a really good patch of sun in which to bask, but they try.  More remarkable is that they are this close together while laying down!

Next week starts off with Nick back to school on Monday and me taking "the girls" to visit the torture device.  That'll be one more thing off my list. Nick's asking for me to arrange for music or voice lessons again.  Unless he miraculously is endowed with a car, it would have to be arranged to have someone come to our home; not sure I'm comfortable with that during those times I'm gone.  What to do, what to do. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Such a Wimp!

Overnight, our thermostat is set to 50.  In the house it rarely drops below 55.  Last night was the second night in a row with outside temperatures dropping to 26 degrees, and THIS is supposed to be a warm climate!  I suppose it is compared to the Midwest and the Atlantic states, and even Texas lately!  While these temps are not sustained, we do get them at this time of year.

This morning, after sleeping in and not getting up until after 8:30 I went to our three zonal thermostats and set them all for 68.   That's pretty much the 'high' for our winter indoor living comfort and while that's still chilly, it works much better than 72 on the pocket book - we've learned to adjust and throw on a sweater or jacket if chilled.  Though Marty was up a whole lot earlier, probably by 7:00, he NEVER turns the thermostat up.  This morning he told me he didn't know how...he promptly got a lesson!  

After about 30 minutes or so, I realized that while I could hear the rooftop unit 'humming' it never really kicked in to produce heat.  Swell.  SO.... Nick is in his room with the door closed and a space heater running and I dug out the only other space heater and let Marty have it down at his computer for awhile, the 'stole' it and brought it to my quilt room and closed the door.  Marty has a better tolerance (maybe he's just being macho...or selfless, or sacrificial) for the cold.  He's been outside and done some outdoor chores, but the furnace on the roof requires the furnace man.  I did call him and leave a message and he'd called back within an hour and said he should be able to make here sometime between 1:00 and 3:00.  It's 2:15 and not yet!  Sure hope he keeps his word, but even if he does, I suspect he may have to order a part or parts and that could takes days, or longer.  

His company originally installed the combo air/furnace unit several years ago- like maybe six or seven - and this was the first year we haven't had it serviced per the (rather loose) contract.  His partner said they'd had a computer crash and were trying to retrieve their files.  Not a problem - I haven't been around much myself and Marty wouldn't be able to arrange a time from work to accommodate the servicing.  A few weeks ago the partner had called and explained this and set up an appointment, but never showed nor called and with the holidays, I didn't call either.  Whatever the problem, it likely would have shown up whether serviced or not as we've had a few hiccups that have worked themselves out over the last year.  It's controlled with computerized equipment, and we all know just how that can go.

Waiting, waiting, waiting :)
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