Saturday, January 28, 2017

January 28, 2017

Walking Down Memory Lane
While Going Through the Cedar Chest
January 28, 2017

An afghan made for our youngest son many years ago

It must be a sign of old age when I constantly am commenting on how fast time is going; but when I mention it to customers of any age, they agree with me.  In some areas of my life, I have accomplished a lot this month and in other areas, I haven't.  Those Christmas cards are still a work in progress, but it is coming to an end soon.  Some sewing projects are showing my hours at the sewing machine.  Others still wait for me to notice them.  The Christmas tree is still up, but 500 ornaments have been removed.  Hopefully I will finish that this weekend.
Sewing projects
We have a grandson due very soon.  It is about a month until he is due, but the doctor predicts his arrival to be soon.  We are eager to meet him although we already love him and think about him many times a day.  I have been working on making some receiving blankets, hemming them with decorative machine stitching.  Most are lightweight for Texas weather.  Locally, they would work for this Texas winter.  It has been a warm winter in Brownsville.  Sunday afternoon I went through the cedar chest and found several baby gowns and sleepers, etc. worn by his daddy as an infant and have washed those to pass on to this next generation.  Precious memories.  Where I can, I am sending photos of our son in the outfits.
Our son in McAllen with his family and my mom
Our grandchildren up the valley from us have had a great time enjoying our beautiful days.  Some of those days have been exceptionally windy, but on the good days they have spent hours and hours enjoying their new swing set/monkey bars/slide combo.  They have a slide, trapeze, swing, fort, playhouse area, etc. to insure that they are getting lots of exercise.  The oldest of those children returned to college last week, eager to have a great semester ahead.  It was good to get to see him a few times while he was home.
Our grandson heading back to Florida for college
One day I drove to McAllen and took the two oldest girls with me to a concert of the Texas A&M Singing Cadets.  The girls and I had a good time, but it is one of the times where the Cochlear Implant is not fully up to the task of an outstanding musical performance.  Having had a son in the group, and having continued to attend their concerts when I could, I know much of their music well so that helped, but still it was hard.  The girls enjoyed it and I was able to have a quick visit with the conductor following the concert. 
Mr. Kipp - director of the A&M Singing Cadets
After the concert I spent the night there before coming home the next morning.  I was too late for me to enjoy a drive home after the concert.  This past weekend we went back up there Friday night for supper before our grandson returned to college.  Part way home we wished we had stayed for the night.  The fog got very thick and it was a difficult drive.  Thankfully, Ron was doing the driving.
Sunday lunch at Pirates' Landing in Port Isabel
My sister from the Dallas area was here for a few days during the last week.  We enjoyed driving to Port Isabel with Mom Sunday afternoon for lunch at Pirates' Landing.  It was one of those very windy days and the bay was rough, but I always enjoy seeing the water and how it changes depending on the weather.  We drove over to South Padre Island after lunch for a very brief shopping trip.
Mom and my sister at lunch

Early this month a friend and her husband came to the area for a visit and took time out one afternoon to come by our office for a visit.  It is always a treat to have time with friends where ever we can get together.  Just about everyone of the activities I have mentioned would have been hard, if not impossible without my Cochlear implant.  There is not a day that goes by that I don't appreciate what it does for me, helping to keep my life as normal as possible.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

January 18, 2017

Four Years Since I Went Deaf:
What Has Changed?
What Hasn't?
January 18, 2017

It has been four years since on Friday afternoon, January 18, 2013, I went deaf.  I was already almost totally deaf in my right ear and used a hearing aid in my left ear, giving me about 75% hearing in that ear.  That Friday afternoon, it was about noon when I realized I was having serious trouble hearing customers - especially on the phones.  My 14 year old grandson and I were alone at the office since my husband was home with a very serious case of the flu that had put him in the Emergency Room at the hospital two days before.

Finally that afternoon I asked my grandson to handle the phone calls and loudly tell me what they said, or write me a note.  Meanwhile we were handling walk-in customers.  As I wondered what was happening, I decided that my hearing aid had finally out-lived it usefulness.  When I had bought it, I was told it should last at least five years.  I was now at eight years.  It didn't enter my mind until late that afternoon that this was actually a change in my hearing, and not just a worn out hearing aid.

My son came to pick up his son (my helper) and was waiting until I locked up.  I was frustrated about the hearing aid, but not really worried and encouraged them to go ahead and leave.  As I got in my car to go home, I turned the key and nothing happened.  "Great, what else could go wrong today?" I thought.  Then I realized the car was moving.  It had started and I just couldn't hear it.  That is when I realized how bad the hearing (or lack of hearing) was.

When I got home, Ron was sleeping and I did not bother him.  He was so sick.  At that point, he had had the flu for a week and wasn't really much better in spite of a couple of trips to the doctor and the trip by ambulance from the doctor's office to the hospital because the doctor was too worried to let him drive there.

When he woke up an hour or two later, I told him about my hearing and I said my ear must just be stopped up.  It was a holiday weekend and he told me he had an appointment with the doctor again for early Monday morning even though it was a holiday.  We agreed that I should plan to go with him. At that point on Friday, I should have gone to the Emergency Room myself.  I had no idea that this was a condition that had to be treated immediately to expect any type of improvement.

At home that weekend, it was very quiet.  Ron slept most of the time and I spent the weekend wondering what was wrong with me, but still pretty sure it was a stopped up ear.  Monday morning early we saw the doctor and after a couple of tests, he made an appointment for me with a specialist.  I could see Ron's face as the hearing tests were being done and by the look on his face, I could tell it was just hitting him how deaf I was.

For the full story you could go back to the beginning posts in this blog, but I will just say, the treatments did not help and 5 months later, I had surgery for a Cochlear implant and although the right ear is still almost totally deaf (I can hear about 5% in a very low range on that side).  When the surgery is done for the implant, all normal hearing is lost in the ear with the implant, so I am totally deaf without wearing my sound processor on that ear.

One thing that hit me fairly quickly was that our youngest granddaughter was only a little over one old and was not yet talking. I thought I might never know what her voice sounded like.  She was such a precious little girl, I could not imagine not ever being able to actually hear her voice.  She is now 5 years old and talks all the time.  I love to hear her.  Thanks to the implant, I am able to hear her and the other grandchildren and all of the family.

People often ask, "How do you like the implant?"  I say, "It beats being deaf."  I do like it.  It does allow me to function in this world of sounds.  I can discern music a little better than I could in the beginning, but still not very well.  I cannot identify voices on the phone and the use of the phone is still a struggle.

The two new devices I got about 15 months ago, the mini mic and the phone clip, have helped a lot.  I now talk to a few people on the phone that I had not been trying to converse with for a long time.  There is another new device out and it is made to set in the middle of a table and help in the hearing of all at a normal size table.  Looking at it, I have not decided for sure if I will buy it.  It is expensive and it not easily portable.  It is not huge, but the mini mic is probably about 1 1/2" x 2 1/2".  It easily fits in my purse.  This new one is considerably larger - maybe the height and width of a slice of bread but thicker.  If our children were all youngsters still living at home it would be almost necessary to have, in order to be able to take part in dinner table discussions, but it would be additional added weight in my purse or tote bag, to take to restaurants.

I love that the Cochlear company continues to invent new, useful items to help the Cochlear recipients.  For now, things are going well.  I continue to check on a few minor health issues, but nothing serious.  I have been very busy the last few months and have not kept up on the blog.  For that I apologize.  From this point on, I will try to post an entry once or twice a week about life in general and mention situations relating to the hearing issues as they come up. 

There are several trips coming up in the next few months, so I will just have to see how it goes, as far as my ability to keep up.  Our new grandson is due soon and we hope to make several trips to Dallas when that happens and I plan to stay a while.  We have a niece getting married in February in Corpus and one getting married in North Carolina later in the spring.  We need to go to a trade show in Dallas to get continuing education hours for our state locksmith license.  Those are the things I know about right now and it seems that other things pop up all the time.

Christmas cards are still being sent out.  I plan to quit at the end of January finished or not.  My Christmas tree is still up.  I have removed 500 decorations and still have many to go.  My hope is to finish that this weekend.  The weather here seems like spring.  Some of the trees have put on new growth, but I hear it is to get chilly tonight.  The weather is as far off schedule as I am! 


Monday, January 9, 2017

January 9, 2017

Up Early on a Monday
January 9, 2017

This morning Ron was committed for a job about 15 miles away at 8:00.  That meant that I had to open the office.  On a Monday!  He has spoiled me and my average arrival time at work for the last 6 weeks has probably been about 11:30. 

The first couple of hours at the office were dead!  No activity.  So I did some cleaning.  I cleaned the glass doors and about 1/2 of the showroom windows.  It was a beautiful day outside and I enjoyed being out there even if it was to do cleaning.  Then things picked up and I stayed busy with customers most of the rest of the morning.  A couple of them were frequent customers and they wanted to chat.

Ron returned about noon and I had my lunch before he left on another job.  I failed to mention in the hustle and bustle of getting to the office early today, I discovered that the refrigerator was not working.  The refrigerator portion was totally off and the freezer was working fine.  Strange.  Needing to be at the office, I couldn't do anything about it at that time, so when Ron got to the office about noon he called the repairman and he was able to come out later in the afternoon.  When Ron got back from his second job I came home and waited for the repairman. 

The problem with the refrigerator turned out to be a "system error" due to all the brief power fluctuations recently.  The man checked with the factory and they told him what to do, which he passed on to me in case it happens again - unplug it for a few minutes and then plug it back in and it should "reboot" and work fine.  It is now working fine but tomorrow I probably need to throw out much that is in there. 

I spent much of the evening reading after fixing a supper that did not require refrigerated items.  I spent some time at the sewing machine.  Today I was able to get another dozen Christmas cards in the mail.  The end is in sight, but not sure if it will be done this week.

The weekend was relaxing.  In fact, I stayed in my PJs all day Saturday and I cannot remember the last time that I did that!  On Friday night we had freezing temperatures (which also doesn't happen often) and neither Ron nor I left the house all day.  I had brought in a lot of potted plants Friday morning and put them in the garage to protect them from the low temperatures.   It had been a couple of years since I had to bring in the plants and some had rooted to the ground and I couldn't get them pulled up to bring inside.
Saturday morning
Friday afternoon I left the office early and picked Mom and Carmen up to go get groceries.  After taking Carmen and the groceries back to Mom's house, Mom and I went out to supper.  Carmen's church has a service on Friday nights and she always goes there.  Mom and I had a good visit and Ron had come home after work and got right to bed.

At church Sunday I was not able to hear the service with my radio hookup.  I have a transistor radio set to the church frequency and a cable that goes from it to my Cochlear sound processor.  Normally I can hear well with it.  It was not working at the wedding I attended last week or on Sunday.  I need to talk to the staff and see if the problem is my radio or the sound system. 

I had gone shopping one evening last week and got a new tablecloth off a Christmas sale table.  It is one of the large ones - 120 inches long, and it was on sale for 70% off.  I had a $10 gift card earned with some Christmas shopping and in the end it only cost me about $3.  It is red and white and I will use it until Valentine's Day.  I really like it.  (See the photo at the top.)

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

January 3, 2017

Out With 2016 and
In With 2017!
January 3, 2017

Black-crowned Night Heron

Are you remembering to write 2017 on your checks, etc.?  So far I think that I am, but I am sure in a day or two when I am not focused on it, I will make a mess of the date.  2016 was a good year for us.  We had the normal ups and downs and aches and pains that come with being over 70 and above.  There are no real complaints about 2016 except that it went by too rapidly.

There are exciting things to look forward to in 2017.    We have a new grandson due soon.  He is being eagerly awaited by all of the family.  It is time for a new baby in the immediate family.  The youngest grandchild is now 5 years old and so grown up.
Our 5-year old granddaughter in the pink

There are several trips coming up in the next few months, but all will be short, quick trips.  We want to see that new grandson as often and for as long as possible in the coming months.  We need to work on taking classes to keep our state license current for our locksmith business.  We will probably take those in either Dallas or Houston in late February or early March.  In April, my mom, our daughter-in-law Barbara and I are going to North Carolina for a long weekend for my niece's wedding.

For now, trips need to be short so Ron can continue to meet him mom's needs.  She is doing well, but needs daily attention and her care giver is only there a few hours a day.  She continues to amaze us with her ability to bounce back from assorted health challenges and even a few falls.  Somehow she manages to go down very slowly without hurting herself; she just needs help to get up.  We are so pleased that she continues to be able to enjoy some of her handwork crafts and her reading.

My mom is doing well and spent Christmas with my brother and his family.  There were several in his family who were sick during the holidays and Mom had some troubles, too, but seems to be doing well now. There are so many "bugs" being passed around, it is a challenge to go anywhere and come home healthy. 
Black-crowned Night Heron in our backyard
Monday we opened the office at noon and when I got home that afternoon, I decided to take a walk in the backyard.  I was delighted with the reward of seeing a Black-crowned Night Heron in the big tree out over the water.  I love the look of this beautiful bird.  This afternoon I went out again and there he was in the same spot in the tree.  He keeps an eye on me but does not try to fly away.  I hope he stays around for a while.

Ron has not been feeling well for a while so we spent the weekend at home and rested.  I commented today on his recent haircut and he informed me he got it last Friday.  I reminded him his head had been buried under the covers since last Friday!  He is feeling better, but still resting a lot.  Not sure what it is - no fever, no cough, no sore throat.  Just doesn't have an energy.
The bride wore tennis shoes
Saturday afternoon I did attend a wedding at our church while Ron stayed home and slept.  The bride was lovely and I loved her dress.  It looked so soft and draped so beautifully.  But you might notice the shoes in this photo.  In case you can't tell, she is in tennis shoes.  She is one of the happiest brides I have seen other than our daughter-in-law Kristina.  Kristina could not keep from smiling all day.
The lovely wedding cake 
(hard to see but real red roses are down the left side of the cake)
Over the last few days I have continued to sort fabric and am so eager to sew!  I got all the decorations off the Christmas tree in the sewing room and boxed them away, the the tree is only half down currently.  Maybe I should finish that tonight.  There is still the big tree in the living room to be done.

New Year's Resolutions are not something I do.  I do think it is a good time to look at my life and my activities and see if there are changes that need to be made, but I don't need the guilt of failing.  God forgives me and He is the one who matters.  I know there are areas where I need to improve and I hope at the end of this year I am not still dealing with the same issues.

Most Christmas cards are still not all mailed.  Only a few have gone out, but I will keep working on them.  I did make great progress yesterday and today on the end of the month/end of the year bookkeeping at the office.  I was so pleased to get the statements to our customers in yesterday's mail and then remembered it was a postal holiday.  My intentions are usually good.

Over the last two weeks of holiday celebrations, I put my Cochlear mini mic into frequent use and Ron has encouraged me to order the newer model with added features.  I hope to do that this week.  I need to order additional supplies for the units.

May your new year be filled with love and happy experiences.  Check back in when you have time and see what is going on in my corner of the world.