A Retired Spoonie – week 2

Week two of retirement went by quickly, too quickly. We did more tinkering with the winterizing of the RV and got things set up mostly the way we want. A cold snap heading this way. Big events for this week were Drs. LOTS of doctors. Superhubs had his annual SCID (Spinal Cord Injury and Disease) check up. This is a grueling, exhausting, day long evaluation of his current condition and the progression of his Multiple Sclerosis with all it’s myriad symptoms. We left home shortly before 6:00 am and got home shortly after 4:00 pm. About 2 hours is drive time but the remaining 8 hours are spent at the clinic, Ultra sounds, blood work, and meetings with every known doctor, therapist, and specialist. Whew! It was a mostly good news kind of day. The good news is that he’s not lost much in the way of functionality which means he’s recovered nearly all of what he lost from 2019’s brain surgeries and strokes. The kind of “bad” news is that while he has very little in the way of MS relapses or exacerbations, he does have secondary progressive MS, which is a fancy way of saying he’s not going to get any better and now it’s just a matter of deal with the old damage. He was diagnosed back in 1999 and actually had the disease for years prior to that (based on lesion age) so for somebody with a 20+ year history of MS, he’s doing really well and I’m thrilled with the progress he’s made. There comes a time in every spoonie’s life when “no further deterioration” is excellent news. He has lost a bit more cognitive function but nothing drastic or inappropriate for his age. So we’ll continue to work on cognitive aids, physical therapy exercises for that right side (partial paralysis from strokes) and enjoy life!

The next day, I headed off for my much anticipated (and dreaded) cardiac MRI. The weather held good and the short drive to the radiology clinic was nice. It’s not a painful or invasive procedure but it is somewhat extensive and it involves a full 90 minutes “in the tube.” I spoke with the sedation nurse last week and was given permission to “self sedate” (aka pop half a valium) before the procedure. IV in; no problem, questionaire complete; no problem, cardiac stent; no problem, total knee replacements; no problem, interocular lenses; no problem, eye stents …. oh wait, you have what?!? Which ones? Huh? Although I do not believe I have any metal in my eyes from the drain/stent procedure to reduce my eye pressures (glaucoma), there are a couple that involve tiny amounts of titanium. Long story short, could not get a confirmation of the absence of any metal in the implants so, they sent me home and rescheduled for next week. Huh … well OK then.

That was enough drama for me for one week, so I spent the rest of it trying to establish a new schedule.

What we’re listening to

Til next time ~Peace JP

Pull of the Compass – a quadrille

Whimsygizmo is hosting this month’s quadrille over at dVerse Poets Pub and asks to polarize ourselves with a poem of 44 words, including “magnet.”

Pull of the Compass

Your voice reached my ears
and drew my eyes to you
with all the force of an electro-magnet
my heart followed
the way a compass points north
and then my mind
with unerring precision
I know in a manner unknowing
precisely where you are

word count 44

Til next time ~Peace ~JP

Happy Places and New Normals – for Sunday Stills

Terri’s Sunday Stills prompt this week is “your happy place” ahhhh, there have been so many. We’re international travelers. Every year we’ve been out of country for some period of time (usually a month or more). Needless to say 2020 has been somewhat of a let down. Like most people, we’re still learning to cope with the “new normal” so very different from the “old normal.” But we’re adapting and there are still hundreds of beautiful places to visit. Cautiously, carefully. So a few of my happy places from right here in my own “backyard” …

Bryce Canyon, Utah, USA
Crater Lake, Oregon, USA
Kapaa, Kauai, Hawaii, USA
Open Trail, Zion National Park, Springdale, UT USA

Over oceans I have traveled
across the lands by plane and car
I have hiked the forests green
and wished upon a Shanghai star
of the places I have been to
the happiest by far
the only place that I call home
is any place you are

Til next time ~Peace ~JP

Spoonie Saturday – Not just tired but RE-tired!

WOW, it’s been a crazy kind of week. I’ve worked as hard or harder in my first week of retirement as I ever did at “work,” well, almost. Chez Spoons is a 32′ 5th Wheel RV trailer. Tiny but happily functional. However, RV living requires some adjustments especially when you live in a cold weather area. Winter temps here are below freezing most nights from Nov. through March and well into April. May blizzards are not unheard of.

Last week, we began our winterizing and preparation work. We moved over to the “winter site” October 1. These sites have a heat rod dropped in the water line and extra insulation around the spigots to keep the water from freezing. They also have the “big” lines winterized to keep the water coming all winter long, other water lines are shut down and blown out to remove the chance of freeze up and water line breakage. Less than 20% of the park stays open during the winter.

So, last week we moved, then immediately started our own winterizing process. The weather held good and we were able to get the RV washed which involves a long handled brush, a bucket of soapy water, and a hose. Yeah, we do it the old fashioned way. Our RV is about 13 ft. tall so working those delts and lats … (grimace). We also washed the car. Whew! After a day to rest and let the wind die back down, we tackled the skirting. We have custom-made vinyl skirting for our RV which is a lot simpler to install than conventional paneling and looks pretty darned nice if I say so myself. Putting it up is simple, but a lot of work. It involves laying out a whole lot of vinyl, sweeping any residual dirt, then fitting it to the button hooks that attach it to the RV. The sides that extend over the grass are then staked down with HUMONGOUS nails (well that’s what they look like). Then comes the fun part. On the sides of the RV that are over the concrete pad, the skirting has to be weighted down from the underside. This involves crawling under the RV and positioning sandbags on top of the skirting under flaps to keep everything in place. Yeah, it’s a big job for a couple of 60-something spoonies. Afterwards we treated ourselves to tea, tylenol, hot showers and a day “off” from heavy work. I must say I worked muscles I had forgotten about. It feels really good though to know that we can do it, that we’re still strong and independent enough to do this stuff.

The next two days were spent tinkering, adjusting, and hooking up the heated water hose. I also managed to do the pantry cooking including soup for the week, bulk breakfasts, grocery shopping, and meal planning. A very full, very satisfying week all in all.

So how about you? Are you getting ready for winter? Stocking the pantry? Cleaning the garden?

What we’re listening to right now:

Til next time ~Peace ~JP

Wild Green Magic – CCC #101

For Crimsons Creative Challenge # 101 – Wild Green Magic

The old stone archway had stood for more years than Brandi and her company could imagine. Whatever was inside was veiled by some power. Whether that power be light or dark, no one knew. Astride flicked a small light ember toward the opening. It was immediately engulfed in darkness. Ahhh, dark magic then. Brandi gathered her will and her power, a glowing sphere if light in her hands that she hearled at the archway “tombershio” she whispered as she cast her light. What happened next was truly remarkable as a woodland spirit began to emerge from a nearby oak.

word count 99

Til next time ~Peace ~JP

Hands – a Prosery Tale

Clouds over the surf

Kim from Writing in North Norfolk is hosting at dVerse today and would like for us to write a bit of prosery including the following line from D.H. Lawrence’s poem “Hummingbird:”

We look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of Time’.

For an added challenge, we are limited to 144 words.

I take his gnarled hand in mine. Papery skin seeming somehow fragile. Hands that gently bottle fed a newborn kitten also struck fearsome taekwondo punches. Big hands, strong hands that made a little girl feel safe, that wiped away the tears and lifted the child back onto the bicycle. Hands that were meant for delicate technical work, not to be the home for needles and tubes. Brothers are weeping. We look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of Time. Somehow the giant of a man appears reduced by the ravages of years. In my mind, I turn the telescope and see the young man diving from high cliffs into the surf far below. His hand caresses my cheek, wiping away one last tear. He whispers “don’t weep for me my angel” as I watch the light fade from his eyes.

word count 144

Til next time ~Peace ~JP

An Ochre October – Sunday Stills

For Terri’s Sunday Stills: October’s color is ochre, a brownish yellow, as shown above, but can range from yellow to deep orange. Perfect for showcasing your Fall colors!

Leaves begin their fall color change in October Shugakuin, Kyoto, Japan
Standing tall in October Zion National Park, Utah, USA
The ochre sunrise in October, Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii, USA

The wind blows scattering dry leaves
and sending the trees dancing
leaves make their annual wardrobe change
from vibrant gold to somber ochre
dry grass prickles my feet
breathe in the musty smells of old oak
listen as the earth sighs her contentment
cloaked in the wonder of the season
I pause in anticipation … Autumn

Til next time ~Peace ~JP

Blanket Weather – a quadrille

The quadrille over at dVerse Poets Pub this week is hosted by merrildsmith who asks us to use “blanket” in our poem of 44 words.

Bland tans and shades of faded ocher
blanket the hills, setting the scene
with splashes of brilliant canary and saffron
Autumn comes to lay her cloak
of colored leaves upon the fertile soil,
shielding tender seeds
from Winter’s chill
rich beauty, gone too soon

California Dreaming — The Mamas and The Papas

Til next time ~Peace ~JP