Tuesday, November 28, 2017

My Not-So-Tiny Surgeries

It's been a while since my last post. I think about writing every day because, frankly, it's been a pretty eventful year. But the thing I want to write about comes up right when I need to sleep. Sleep wins.

Both Katy and I had surgery the end of May. Our recovery wasn't too painful, but it was painfully slow.

Katy somehow broke her kneecap right after her spay surgery. She didn't show any signs that anything was wrong except for a slight limp. I took her to the vet; things seemed fine, but it didn't get better. They X-rayed her leg—broken kneecap. At five months old, she had knee surgery. That meant two months of nothing but crate time. And I mean nothing. I let her out to potty without being leashed once or twice and she managed to break the wire with just that little bit of movement so it was serious. Two pins in the leg needed to stay put.
She was extremely unhappy about it but we got into a routine and she managed to deal with it. Broke my heart to see her puppyhood interrupted like that. Keko was a trooper, just going with the flow! She didn't need "only crate time," but she started chewing on the baseboards so she got her own crate, too. (Hello, 7-month-old puppy! Thank you, Carla!) Silver lining is they are both truly crate-trained now. Keko did get to go on walks and be out without Katy, but Katy got so excited she needed anti-anxiety medicine to calm her down during those times… we started reducing the amount of time Keko went out. Even still, they both didn't gain but a couple pounds over their normal puppy growth.
Meanwhile, I had surgery a week after Katy did. I had a medically-necessary breast reduction. I haven’t shared that with too many people… not that I’m embarrassed about it—on the contrary. I’m thrilled! But, large breasts have such a prominence in our society that talking about reducing the size of them isn’t something most people think about positively. I’ve thought about doing that since I was 14. They’ve defined my life through so many everyday things to big events—not in a good way. I basically stopped swimming… that in a bathing suit was downright obscene. And water is one of my most favorite things. I was unhappy. Those are minor points considering the toll they were taking on my body. My blood pressure was high, I consistently retained close to 20 pounds of water because of them and I had the classic back trouble—the weight of them even pinched nerves to cause carpal tunnel-like symptoms in my hands. The pain was so intense, I’d lay in bed crying because I couldn’t find relief.

So, I went under the knife! I was mildly concerned but 100 percent sure I was doing the right thing. It was a day surgery, believe it or not, and I was back at Mark’s the same day. The pain wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be, but I had some great pain meds. I was completely bed-ridden for a week, knocked out on meds. I thought I’d prepared for handling the pain meds, but, man, those kicked my ass and I was down for another week because of them. Turns out I needed the rest, of course. I really focused on not doing too much too soon and I think I’ve done the right thing there, too. As someone who really has a hard time asking for help, I had to bypass that issue and actually ask. I did not learn that skill; I still have a hard time asking. I got to catch up on my shows. I thought I was going to get to read and blog more… didn’t happen. I slept and focused on maintaining my health.

I was an F and I’m down to a C now. Original notes—It’s been 12 weeks as of this writing and I’m almost to the point where I can perform most functions. My arms are incredibly strong now! My posture is much better. I do not get hot much anymore. I repeat—I do not get hot much anymore. My blood pressure is normal, almost low sometimes. I’m off all medication… it’s incredible how much better I feel and just am. I love how I look in bathing suits! No obscenity. Every day is a slightly stronger, better day than the last.
Update—It's been exactly six months now and most of that is still true. I am hot sometimes, but I'm also cold sometimes, which never happened before. I haven't worn my wrist guards since the night before I went into surgery. My blood pressure has leveled out, on the higher end of normal. Still no more back problems!

Through all of that the pups and I stayed at Mark's. He was so generous in letting us stay at his house, even with all of my and Katy’s unique needs. Between the two of us we couldn’t do stairs, so we took over his master suite with the dogs in the bathroom and me in the bedroom. Minimal movement was key. Aside from a couple of miscommunications (right Lauren, Randy and Cliff?) he was downright sweet, making sure my pillows were right, taking Katy to the doctor and just making sure everything was in order. He's been pretty good with the dogs since—even though he's never had a pet—and they adore him. Taking care of two puppies was definitely trial by fire!

My friends, family and even my workplace have been so supportive. My wonderful kids made sure I was taken care of, too. I really think their support made my recovery that much better. It’s incredible how great I feel, y’all!

Katy's made a full recovery except for some scar tissue around her knee. She slowly got out more and we have spent so much time at the farm, running and running... She seems so much happier now. Her little (big) body wiggles like the 11 1/2-month-old almost-not-a-puppy she is. She only favors her leg when she pivots on it a lot, which is less and less as time goes by. The pups truly smile now.


I've made progress on my tiny, too. I really want to document everything so I'll remember the deets later... (How many times have I mentioned that?) The short list is I've finished my dog yard, replaced and winterized my water intake system and (wait for it) REMOVED MY TIRES! ::gasp:: I'm working on the skirt now, but more on all of that later!

Meanwhile, I'm juggling my living situation and trying to figure some things out. The anniversary of Cloe's passing was difficult and, while I've been somewhat troubled lately for other reasons, it could be worse and I'm super lucky to I have some great people in my life who care about me, if only just to hear me vent.

Now, I have to take the dogs out and get some much-needed rest. Ta!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Boston, 2017

New England

Peaceful view in Dover, NH.
Effects thanks to the Waterlogue app.
We had so much fun together! Doesn't Leslie have a great smile?

I got to spend time with my awesome sister and finally see her run a race! I really love how much she's been able to accomplish as a single mom; my nephew, John, is so lovable and I cherish the time I got to spend with him, too.

It was pure heaven spending time in beautiful New England with my sister. :-)

The waterfalls in the White Mountains were spectacular. I love water in any form.

The Conference

I did get to learn a few new things while attending my favorite annual conference. I made some new friends in my work colleagues and I even did karaoke for the first time... it wasn't quite as scary as I'd imagine it to be. Thanks, Lu, for your encouragement! Go to Wild Rover for some great karaoke and dancing!

The director of the group who recently redesigned the City of Boston's website gave a presentation about their process. I am so impressed with them and the efforts they've made to communicate with their residents. Sounds cheesy, I know, but it's so important and a hard task to be a good resource for your community; they've done a great job. Very inspiring!

Nothing's more important than connecting with your colleagues. The relationships I've built over the years with friends in all areas of the country are so invaluable to me. We worked well together, help each other out when it's needed... I really appreciate my work family. <3

Just Boston 

These are just some of my favorite shots while I was out and about the town. I walked the whole city several days and took a lot in—even though I've been there four times now... I truly love that city. The temperatures were regularly in the 40s and 50s, it was drizzly most of the time... I really felt like I was home... even when it was sunny with a high in the 70s. My weather. (I posted many times during the trip on my Facebook page.)
The view from my favorite Boston eatery, The Barking Crab

Driving up to my favorite bridge,
the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge,
at night in the rain.
Effects thanks to the Prisma app.
Google does some really interesting treatments; I really love this one.

It's always about the water. <3
One of my absolute favorite shots—Spot and Phoenix
trotting through the underpass on their way to view a fantastic waterfall.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Three Open Houses! What's next?

After a whirlwind of a week getting to #livetinyextreme, I'm back to work and planning the Next Big Thing and I'm really missing my house. I'm doing some cleanup and saw this photo again... I can't believe it was such a perfect day and I got such a great shot! I took it from my car on my iPhone and I think it really captures the spirit of a THOW: the blue sky, puffy white clouds, countryside and a windy road…

The Little Fish House is parked in a safe place until I have time to move him back to the farm. My next big thing is going out of town for a work conference in my beloved Boston with the added perk of spending some time with my awesome sister, Leslie. After that, I'll be headed for a long-awaited surgery at the end of May; that will keep me out of my tiny until probably mid- or late-June. ::sigh::

I've decided that once I'm back to living tiny full time, I'm starting the clock over. While I've been living tiny off and on, ever since Cloe died I've been crazy busy with work, setting up the farm and getting the new pups all up-to-date on vaccinations, potty training and spays—all of which aren't really conducive to an hour commute, away from vets, work and consistent trips outside.

Open House #1

Earth Day Texas 2017 was a blast and it was wonderful to meet so many people who are building and talk with them about composting toilets and simply living tiny. And, get this: I was interviewed by the Dallas Morning News about living tiny, thanks to BA :-). "My 15 minutes!" lol It was a great article and even got a nice write-up on TexasHillCountry.com.

I was surprised that so many people in the area who are building did not know about the DFW Tiny House Enthusiasts. I'm glad we got to introduce those folks to the group. It will be interesting to see how the next year evolves. I hope we have more Meetups and I'm hoping to have more open houses.

I was so happy to see all of my friends and family who came out to see me at Fair Park. They make my life special; and it was good to reconnect with my tiny house companions, too. As much as I'm looking forward to getting set up on the farm, I would love to be in a community. It was cool to have coffee in the mornings with them, problem-solve and share ideas with each other and just be with other tiny house people. (The fact that they are so cool does help a bit!) It was cool to see Renee of TinyOn! fame, too! (I posted many times during the event on my Facebook page.)

Open House #2

Speaking of community, Garland happened so quickly but it was great to represent! The Hon. Douglas Athas invited BA and myself to come and talk about living tiny and what a community would mean to us and to the city. Lucky us, Susan got to come, too! The turnout was great and I think we were well-received. The parking spot was beautiful, too! :-) I hope Garland becomes the trailblazer for tinies in the DFW area!

Loving living tiny!

Open House #3

Then I was off to an open house at none other than my workplace! The wind was really blowing that day; I had to go 45 mph down the highway or the house would start swaying. (Note to self: Must install the anti-sway bar, dang it!) I did make it—first official solo trip, y'all! I didn't like that much, but didn't have much of a choice. A tail car is really needed in traffic, but I found that if I took it slow, folks would filter around me. I only got one honk from some [expletive] in a sports car because he was trying to race me as I was switching lanes. Ugh. However, it was quite funny to pull my house up in the middle of Uptown! A big shout out to the officers at the Fed for their guidance while I pulled my house into the parking lot. It was so great to share my house with my co-workers, supporting Earth Day at work. 

Camping out at work, across the street from the Crescent.

Thanks to everyone who came out to all three events! It was lovely talking with you all.

Shirts with Bob on Them

Lastly, guys, I had t-shirts for sale. I was so focused on presenting my house I didn't get a chance to showcase them. Lauren and Emma came out to try to help sell, but the crowds were really light that day. (Thank you, both! <3 ) If anyone's interested, I have small, medium, large, x-large and xx-large sizes for $15 each. Comment if you're interested. I'll also be re-posting information on them when I get back from Boston.

I need to go pack now but I'm looking forward to writing more "how I did this" posts while I'm recovering in June. I hope I remember the details! :)