Thursday, September 25, 2014

Trying To Bridge the Gap

Autumn in the garden

We spent the first night in the 'new house' on September 17.
I didn't sleep well--over-tired, feeling dislocated.
We moved 5 cats with us [!] which is a story in itself.
The cats were not particularly happy, but several crept onto the bed in the wee hours to join us. [Two more cats were moved on successive days.  Willis, Charlie and Willow are currently staying at the little farm with our son, Howard.]

During the Wyoming years [1998-2010] we lived in several houses that we built and then put on the market.  With each move I learned that there is a time of adjustment--days or weeks when I reach for a light switch in a familiar place only to find that it is on the opposite wall. Waking in the dim hours of the night, I turn instinctively to the faint light which should mark a window, then sleepily remember that I am in a different bedroom.
I stand in the middle of the kitchen, wondering which drawer or cupboard holds the items I need. 

A technician from our new phone/internet provider installed a line on Wednesday, running it across the ground from a wildly overgrown thicket of locust saplings. 
We have yet to see the crew that are meant to put the line underground!
The new line was run to the old entry box in a corner of the master bedroom and the router 
plugged in there.
We discovered that the cord furnished wasn't long enough to reach my desk in the 'study' next door.
Howard bought a longer cord and he and Devin came over yesterday morning to drill a small hole and thread the cord through to my desk.
Thus ended several days of perching with my laptop at the dining area table.
The laptop and I are not on a friendly basis.  I use it mainly if we are traveling and usually feel that I am fiddling and fumbling with it. 

A transplanted rose holding its own in a forest of sunflowers.

The tomatoes we purchased needed to be canned.
I slogged through that on Thursday and  Friday while Jim moved still more boxes from the farm which in a reversal of roles, has now become 'the other house.'
Late on Friday afternoon I made a batch of oatmeal bread--paring down my recipe of many years from 4 loaves to the 3 that will fit--barely--into the smaller wall oven in this house.

The sunflowers in a final moment of glory.

To complicate life just a bit I had an appointment with an eye clinic to evaluate my cataracts--they've been there for a number of years, quietly forming, but in the past 6 months have made my vision problematic. An eye exam in late February at a local clinic confirmed that the time had come to deal with them.
Unfortunately, the optometrist there prescribed new lenses which have been of no benefit.
I was urged by friends to made the 45 minute drive to a larger and more reputable clinic.
I was a bit disconcerted to find that they could schedule the first procedure in a weeks time. 
Jim and I decided to accept the appointment although we are very much in the midst of moving upheaval.

I keep flowers on the dining table for encouragement.  

I scrabbled through as much housework as I could on Wednesday morning [yesterday] before Jim drove me to the clinic.
I was passed from one nurse's station to another, receiving drops in my left eye at each stop; I was also asked by each nurse why my 'medications' record contained no listings.
It is apparently unheard of that a woman  my age is not on any medication!

I was directed back to the waiting area where Jim was alternately staring at a TV set with the volume turned low or restlessly riffling through the magazines on offer.
By this time my vision was so blurred that I removed my glasses and tucked them into an 
inside pocket.

Eventually I was led to a final prep area where I was invited to climb onto a gurney.
Paper 'booties' were slipped over my shoes and I was asked to tuck my long hair into a paper 'shower cap.'  I was given a Tylenol and a Valium to swallow .More eye drops, an IV port slipped into my right arm,[more Valium]  an oxygen line draped across my chest.
I was offered a blanket with the explanation that the procedure area would be colder than 
the prep area.
I said 'Yes' to the blanket, and was tenderly tucked into one that had been pre-warmed.
The procedure itself was painlessly swift.
I was positioned under the laser unit, told to gaze into the circle of bright light--and not move.
The surgeon's soft, Kentucky-cadenced voice, "I'm removing a big cataract--you'll feel a
 bit of pressure."
Splashes of brilliant light--yellow, green, deep pink, then a view of dark particles--sort of like pixels resolving and disappearing on a screen. A sensation of something cold flooding my eye.
I was whisked to another machine where the new artificial lens was inserted, and suddenly it was over. The nurse at my side inquired, 'Sharon, are you awake?"
I was, of course.
I was wheeled to an adjoining area and discovered as I was cranked to a sitting position, that Jim was there waiting for me.
I was offered a choice of something to drink--longing for hot tea, but it wasn't available.
I was handed a can of Coca Cola, assisted into a wheel chair.
I was instructed to put on a pair of huge dark glasses, then trundled off to our car!

Valium, which I've had in tiny infrequent doses for the aches of fibromyaliga, makes me stupid!
I knew Jim was ready for a meal and I was hungry as well.  I also knew that I could not navigate without bumping into things, couldn't manage to eat without spilling.
We compromised on a Dairy Queen drive-through--with Jim handing over chicken fingers and fries, one by one.
Back home, still stumbling and bumbling.
I don't do daytime naps, so changed into a soft pair of pants, my slippers, made the longed-for mug of tea and flopped into the wing chair with my feet on a hassock.
I was visited by several sympathetic cats, while nodding away the remainder of the afternoon, trying to convince myself that I was alert and perfectly capable of managing with one eye.
I found I couldn't focus to read.
Vision in my left eye was reduced to a grey blur and my right eye seemed to be doing much less than its share.
The surgeon phoned at 7:30 P. M. to inquire if I was doing well; he explained that the grey blur was to be expected.
I blundered off to the bathroom to put in eye drops and tape a small plastic shield over my left eye per instructions, tumbled resignedly into bed.
Thanks to the lingering effects of Valium I slept soundly.

Blooms of Hawkeye Belle--precious.

A new morning and the effects of the drug finally out of my system.
A cautious opening of my left eye was disconcerting--still grey blurry shapes.

Howard phoned as we ate breakfast [I had been slicing potatoes and had the knife taken away by Jim who apparently expected me to cut off a finger] to state that the Amish man who had expressed interest in our farm was bringing his wife to view the house.

Howard, like his sister Gina, is a fanatically tidy person.
He has been mopping and hoovering behind us with a vengeance that leaves me somewhat ashamed of my more casual housekeeping.

By the time we turned into the driveway the Amish couple had arrived an hour early.  Their 'driver' waited in the yard and they were exploring the garden site.
Howard was in the basement, vacuum cleaner roaring as he dusted down the floor joists [!] and hadn't heard them knocking at the door!

I invited Mrs. M. inside to view the house, taking special pride in demonstrating the fittings of my [much missed] Kraftmade cabinetry.
Jim and Mr. M. eventually joined us to view the basement area.
Mr. M. was much taken with the basement shower area--which Howard had just mopped.
H. was persuaded to turn off the roaring shop vac [he was attacking the caned goods shelf] so that we could hear ourselves talk.
They want the farm.
There are contingencies, of course--they own considerable land and buildings in the other end of the county. Two of their sons have recently moved into the neighborhood;
amongst them they operate a thriving harness making business. 

This Amish couple rather restored my interest in this sect.
Although traditionally garbed, they were immaculately clean--a feature lacking in most of the neighborhood Amish whom we have met.
Mr. M. is well-spoken, obviously a man of business and shrewd transactions.
We can only wait to see how this turns out.

I have a few mis-givings as Howard has so recently moved in his belongings, although he knew that the farm was on the market when he decided to come to Kentucky while he waits for his damaged wrist to heal.

I have moments of feeling over-whelmed by so much change and upheaval.
I'm having to come to terms with the reality that I can't 'settle' this house, unpack, sort, make curtains, in a matter of days or even weeks.

The blurred vision in my left eye is starting to clear.  I have a post-op appointment tomorrow.
If all goes well with this healing process surgery on my right eye will likely be scheduled  within the next month.
Our daughter, our grandson, our son, have been generous in their help to pack, move, organize, clean, in both houses.
We came home today with a basket of lunch beautifully prepared and presented by Gina.
My hasty photo doesn't do the contents justice: sandwiches on hoagie rolls with pickles and chips on the side. Empanadas--new to me, but similar to pasties stuffed with chicken, onion and mashed potato; 'dessert-in-a jar'--a sort of trifle with chunks of cake, strawberry preserves, crumbles of chocolate.
We are tired, encumbered with more worldly goods than we need to be moving, a bit confounded by the possibilities and challenges of the immediate future.
We are also blessed!


  1. That is a lovely lunch basket and a thoughtful thing to give you.
    Selling a farm, buying a house, packing, moving, moving 5 cats!, having a cataract removed, now that is busy.

    1. Terra; It has been a bit too busy. As I look around it appears I haven't accomplished much of what waits to be done.

  2. Gosh Sharon, talk about everything happening at once! I am glad that you are over in the new house now, and have broadband (how did we live without it? I know - we wrote letters and made more phone calls . . .)

    The cataract operation didn't sound anything like as bad as I expected it to be and I hope you soon have full sight restored. Thank you for explaining it to me - if I ever have to have it done, I shan't be too scared. I was very impressed that the surgeon phoned you at home to check on how things were, but I guess if you are paying them, it's part of the service!

    As for the Amish chap being interested in your farm - brilliant news. Let's hope they buy it and then you can revamp your kitchen and get some more Kraftsmade units . . .

    I think you have raised two useful offspring there. Will Howard decamp to your new house when the farm sells? I presume he will be staying in your area now. I hope. it's so much easier to have your children/their families close by. Tell Gina she can come and give me a packed lunch anytime she wants - I especially loved the sound of the "dessert-in-a-jar"!!!

    1. BB; The use of the laser to remove cataracts is indeed a marvel.
      Re the kitchen cabinetry--I'm telling myself that the ones here are quite adequate--I was spoiled with years of designing and using higher-end kitchens--and the Krafmade units are so clever!
      Howard is [typically] doing more than is good for his damaged wrist. His plan is to alternate between Kentucky and his uncle's place in Florida. They have worked together in the past--ADW is another of the family 'traders!'

  3. I'm sure the eye operation will be a success; my mother had a cataract removed a few months ago and her only complaint was that it allowed her to see wrinkles which she didn't know she had!

    1. John; Thank you for a smile! Your Mother is so right--wrinkles, spots, cat hair on my black sweater, are going to be highly visible--to say nothing of streaks on windows and bits that should be swept off the kitchen floor!

  4. No more moving MM ! It took me a year to recover my equilibrium. Cats need time to adjust and so do we. I'm only now feeling more like my 'normal' self. I blamed age on the discombobulation. I SO dislike the feeling of not being in control of my day to day things.

    1. Chris; I share your discomfort at being relocated. You would think I'd have adjusted to the process in our frequent moves, but it leaves me feeling quietly over-whelmed. Being older with each move doesn't help, but the sense of upheaval has always been there.

  5. Dear, dear Sharon ~ What a post! Cataract surgery sounds very scary to me.

    Moving would be a definite upheaval for me. YIKES!

    All things will work out for you with the sale of your farm and for Howard too.

    Love and hugs to you and Jim and all your felines ~ FlowerLady

    1. Rainey; I would recommend the laser process to anyone who finds they need cataracts removed. That said, any medical procedure can be un-nerving, to say nothing of the paperwork involved.
      So much of the moving EVERY TIME seems to be about an accumulation of 'stuff' we don't really need--WHY do we have it???

  6. Glad your surgery went well, having anything done to our eyes is always scary.
    Hope you get the "other house" sold, that's always such a worry. I'm amazed you aren't on any medications, I have a ton, when I complained to my doctor he said it wasn't because I was ill, it was to keep me well.

    1. Janet; Your doctor's reasoning is interesting! I know there are certain conditions which require medication to maintain stability, but I tend to think of diet and lifestyle as 'prevention' at this point.
      Re the eye procedure--much less upsetting than a visit to the dentist!

  7. You always seem to have so much going at once. I think you will be amazed at the improvement in your eyesight after both cataract surgeries.

    1. Lillian; Thank you for the encouragement--the sight in my left eye is already so much improved.
      Goings on--yes, too many things seem to happen at once in our family--a chronic situation!

  8. I am so glad that that the cataract operation went well, and at such a busy time as well. It is lovely to see your family helping out, and the fact that there is a buyer for your old house. There is nothing worse than having worries on your
    mind, and as each 'problem' is approached and resolved, life becomes simpler.
    Do take care and don't work too hard.. Thelma X

    1. Thelma; We're waiting with patience to see if the potential buyer can pull off the sale of his own property and be financially able to buy our farm.
      As to other things--I'm trying to look at one or two small jobs at a time rather than despairing over the entire lot of boxes to be emptied, contents sorted, etc. Its perhaps good discipline for me--imposed by the slight restrictions of the cataract surgery.