Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What's up next at the Gilbert's? Camping, Windows and Generators Oh My!

I trek off to the far country of Camp Lakota this weekend to attend Webelos Unplugged with William and thirty other boys and their dads for two nights of frosty camping and eating things cooked on the ground.

Sounds lovely, doesn't it? 

I, however, am preparing for this trip to rival an assault on Mt. Everest, base camp and Sherpas be damned. I am not freezing my bottom off in a tent. My dining room looks like overflow for Cabela's sporting goods right now, and I haven't started to REALLY pack.

Oh they're cute until they pick your bones clean

Monday morning bright and early two crews of installers from Woodland Windows and Doors begin to rip out and replace 72 windows in my home. It's the project we said we'd never do but I always knew we'd end up doing it. I hope I am going to love my new Marvin windows and doors. Seriously, I had better for what we are paying for them.  They estimate it will take them two weeks to finish all the work. It's that big a job. I think they should rename the company Gilbert Windows and Doors. 
Hello Marvin. Meet your new home.

Next Friday we've got more people coming (cause hey, it's just money?!) to install the 20kw whole house generator. We've lived here for 5 years without a power blip, and recently the power has gone off three times, once for 12 hours. Not so bad, you say? Well I'm on well and septic, which means no power no water and no toilets. How long can you hold it for? Me, not so long. It will look something like this:

Scout Trek 2010

We took a family outing to Scout Trek 2010 in Busse Woods Forest Preserve this past weekend. Organized by the NW Council of Boy Scouts, there were several dozen activities that families could participate in. William and Catherine enjoyed the rockets, rock wall and geocaching the best. The weather was overcast and chilly, and participation was obviously a lot lower than they expected (they'd arranged for shuttle buses from remote parking but we found spaces near the entrance). We did get a cool patch!
a real elk

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My yard, restored

A gloomy day (and chilly, too) but I wanted to run outside and take a few photos of the final grading and clean up they came to do on Monday. I am glad to not have the trenches and piles of dirt anymore. We had a short but intense rain last night and all the drainage seems to be a go. No overflowing downspouts and the sump pump really didn't run much. My husband reminds me that the ground is pretty dry so it may take more rain to really see a difference. I'm happy to just not have a river around my planting beds in the back like we had before (when the sump just kicked water into the yard and it drained back towards the house).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

French? Spanish? Que?

My DD 11 is taking French as a 7th grader. I speak French, French major, lived in France, but am not a native speaker. I do just fine, thank you. My MIL speaks French, same boat. So it was natural she took French. I also speak Brazilian Portguese (lived and worked there) which I learned in grad school (it's not hard to learn after French!). And my Spanish is limited to butchered Portguese-Spanish combos and what I affectionately call "landscaping Spanish." Donde esta el mulch?

Forgive me.

Met some old neighbors who have put their foot down on languages. Spanish ONLY. No one speaks French, Spanish taking over etc etc. You all know it. We don't have another choice except for German. They practically were aghast anyone would take French (or German).

So do you think Spanish is really the way to go? I figure what difference does it make, learn one learn the next one. I did.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What the hell happened to your yard?

Remember when?

I'm saving these for forensic evidence

We used to have grass.
Now we have mud

And holes

And trenches

And mounds of clay

oh they think it's fun. Perhaps they think we are putting in a pool?
That quote comes directly from the mouth of a landscape contractor upon surveying the dismal state of my yard. Technically, they call it "lawn restoration" although at this point it looks less likely to be restored as it does to be replaced.

The guy could not believe the mess. At one point he asked my husband if he'd finished paying the contractor for the job. My husband replied we hadn't paid him any money yet. Then the landscaper asked how much we were going to pay, then stopped my husband and said no no let me tell you how much * I * would have charged to dig this drainage and you can tell me if you got a good deal.

His price: $7,000- $9,000

We are paying $2000.

He could not believe this, saying but this guy must be losing money!  
Maybe he is, but it's his money to lose.

Oh and we got the landscapers verbal quote just this morning on our phone. He wouldn't send anything in writing (strange!) and it was $3,200!  For one day's work and a guy with a bobcat.

Even at that price (and we have two other quotes coming), we are still cheaper than his price to do the entire job.

Meanwhile, it's raining. It's muddy. And I would like my yard back.

At least the front still looks nice.

Monday, September 13, 2010

My poor yard

Drainage projects abound at my home. We're rerouting downspouts and gravity drains. Sigh. That's John in the hat supervising.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Formula 3 made my tootsies all lovely again

It's been four weeks of painting my toenails twice daily with the Formula 3 oil-based tolnafol anti fungal medication my dermatologist gave me to try (I have to go back this week to report on my findings). I'd have to say I give this one an A+. You can only get this from a doctor so don't try to order it online (the company's website says products sold under it's name on line are bogus counterfeits). I read the bottle costs $45 but I got mine for free. I am having to pay for the return trip to the dermatologist for a check.

My sweet toes have never looked better, and by better I mean I am not planning on becoming a foot model and giving up my day job, but it's nice to wear open toed shoes and not have people wondering if those are nails or hooves on my feet.

They were gross. Really.

And since I'm a market research by nature I decided to document my results, for a little empircal show and tell if you will.

Here is the before (brace yourself):

And here is the after (awww!). Now they aren't done yet as toe nails take 1 year sometimes to completely regrow. But I see a difference. Really, I do.

Little half moon thingy at the base of my nail that I haven't seen in 25 years: Welcome Back!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Bill's party rocked...literally

I don't know what Bill was serving in his mystery alcoholic drinks cause I was too doped up on pain meds by the time we arrived, but I ended up passing a kidney stone while there and Eileen was taken off to the hospital for gall stones not 48 hours later.

Coincidence or conspiracy? You decide.

Hey Bill, was it vodka or lighter fluid you used in those mixed drinks? I may not make it to the party next year at this rate, or was that all part of your evil plan?

Seriously though---passing a kidney stone is not pleasant, and the little meteoroid that inhabited my inner space made its move about 15 minutes before we were set to leave for Bill's. You know how in space, no one can hear you scream? Well in your bathroom, the entire house can hear mommy giving birth (practically). This did not seem to dissuade the kids or the husband from knocking on the bathroom door to ask me if we were ready to go yet! I think my little hunk of moon rock must have turned a corner from my ureter in my big ol' black hole of a bladder because I felt fine a few minutes later, and two capsules of something narcotic I had (on prescription, thank you) did the trick. Lo and behold, two hours later there it was, a little piece of calcium agony. And just like that I was cured.

It's a miracle!

Just like Riley's birth of the namesake Life of Riley party at Bill's.

Hope you feel better Eileen. Next year we need T-Shirts. Life of Riley ROCKS!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The kidney stone is out!


How one teeny, tiny little stone could cause me pain like giving birth on Sunday is beyond me, but I am thrilled beyond belief to be done with that!

Friday, September 3, 2010

I'm feeling like an oyster

I finally got a diagnosis today after a return trip to the doctor. I spent the entire evening wide awake and nauseous. He sent me for a CT scan after I mentioned it felt like something trying to get out of me (that's the way I can only visualize the pain, as if something was stuck).

Stuck it is. I have three kidney stones. One from 2003 in my left kidney is now lodged in a little spot by my bladder. It's only 3mm in size but let me tell you if you had a grain of sand wedged in your wee wee you would notice it.

Well, at least it's not cancer!

The doctor gave me Flowmax (yeah, my husband remarked now I can go fishing all day with the guys like in the commercial). It's commonly used to treat enlarged prostates in men (it relaxes the ureter so the stone can pass. I have to take it daily and drink THREE LITRES of liquids per day. I'm queasy just thinking about that. Oh, and I get to strain my urine as well to look for this little pearl. My husband offered up the gold mesh coffee filter to which I said EW and NO thanks!  I don't care how many times you run it through the dishwasher....

I learned in all this that I do not tolerate sulfur drugs as I experienced every miserable side effect it offered, including "anorexia" (I have had no desire to eat for days), "nausea," "dizziness," "stomach upset," and "diarrhea."

Yeah. It's great being me.

Oh, and guess what can cause kidney stones? TEA. I guess 4 cups a day for 20 years has finally taken its toll. As Bill would say, time to switch to beer.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

It hasn't been a great week here

I'll be very glad when we're all on the mend.

Monday. I had my mole removed and by Monday evening was being treated for a UTI. William came down with a fever and sore throat.

Tuesday. I wake up with a fever and no relief from my UTI. My doctor changes me to a different antibiotic. William still sick.

Wednesday. Urine culture comes back negative (WHAT?) and doctor says go to see my Gyne for a pelvic exam. Feel miserable. Go see gyne (they squeezed me in) and she says she can't see anything wrong. Tells me to continue the antibiotics anyway. Takes a million swabs and another urine culture. William still sick.

Wednesday night. Learn that when they say to not take medicine on an empty stomach they MEAN it. Spend about an hour in the bathroom wanting to die.

Thursday. William still sick. Mommy feeling somewhat more human but not 100%. Cancel den meeting I'm hosting tonight (so much for my plans).


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