pegkerr: (Deal with it and keep walking)
2019-03-22 09:59 am
Entry tags:

House issues

As you may or may not know, it was a tough winter here in Minnesota (yay, it's Spring! Yay!) I dealt with the shoveling, even when the pile of snow outside my driveway reached over six feet in height. But a more serious problem was revealed when all that snow started to melt.

Delia, fortuitously, happened to be home because of a doctor's appointment. She called me at work to let me know that water was pouring into the basement. I managed to snag the last Shop-vac for rental at the local hardware store and although there is a ton of stored stuff in the basement, most of where the water reached was in plastic bins, and we moved everything else out of the way in time, so there was no damage. That was the good news.

At first, I thought it was backing up from the floor drain. I had the guy comes out who routers out the roots every year and a half--it had been just done last July--and he said the drain was clear. When the rain came back, we realized that it was pouring under the side service door and running down the wall into the basement.

I called the insurance company. I called a contractor. Problem is: the foundation wall on that side of the house is leaning, perhaps from underground water pressure. It's set the door frame ajar (I probably had heat pouring out of there all winter, too.) "It's probably been doing it gradually for five or six years," the contractor said, looking at me as if to say, Why haven't you dealt with it before now, lady?

Oh, yeah. Rob got cancer, what, six years ago? I've been distracted.

He gave me an estimate and a list of priorities: shore up the basement foundation wall; that's absolutely critical. $2,600.00. Next, radon testing and abatement (am currently testing now to see if it's an issue--if it is, that'll be $2,000.00). Then install gutters on the house (need to get an estimate from another contractor). Get another contractor to bust up the sidewalk that runs flush beside the house and relandscape away from the house. Get a carpenter to re-align the door and re-do the stairs to the basement. He also suggested installing drain tile ($3,600.00), a sump pump ($350.00) and encapsulation ($900.00).

Okay. Am dealing with it. Calling contractors, calling the state to find out about homeowner low- cost loans. My family will probably help.

The adjuster is coming out Monday to confirm, but I've been told to expect that my homeowner's insurance will cover none of it.

I had planned to go to England this summer. Not sure whether I'll be able to do it now.

I've been dealing with it rather well, all things considered. The one really bad moment was the day I was out in the pouring rain, trying (fruitlessly) to break up the ice on the sidewalk that was pooling water against the foundation, getting soaked in the water sluicing off the roof, and crying because Rob wasn't here to help me with this, and how could he do that to me?
pegkerr: (Both the sweet and the bitter)
2018-11-17 04:24 pm
Entry tags:

Stay at home vacation = lots of work and new furniture

I took the week off work this week, and with the assistance of faithful family and friends, I removed what I estimate to be 3 TONS of stuff (mostly Rob's stuff) from my house and garage. The truckload weighed in 4040 lbs at the South Transfer Station, and aside from that, I also took a bunch of file cabinets to the scrap yard, gave other furniture away, and threw out so much recycling that I filled my bin, a neighbor's bin and others hauled yet more away to their own bins. The pile in my garage and basement is considerably less, and today, my new furniture was delivered. It looks gorgeous.

It was a difficult week emotionally. I went through drawers and file cabinets and continually was gobsmacked at what I found (really, you're using your file cabinet to store issues of Bench & Bar magazine from 1994? TV Guides from 1989? REALLY?) When we dropped off the file cabinets at the scrapyard, I started crying when we shoved out the file cabinet that had stood in Rob's office/TV room for decades and I watched the steel claw on the crane tear it into bits. I also wept when we shoved the law books out onto a pile of garbage at the transfer station dump.

But today, I had my reward: new furniture was delivered, and it looks just gorgeous. (That wing chair, by the way, is a stealth recliner). Thanks to the family and friends who worked so hard to help me this week. Thanks for the food, the advice, the cleaning, the willingness to take furniture and other stuff, the transportation, the room in your cars and recycling bins, the sweat, the laughter, and the encouragement.









pegkerr: (All we have to decide is what to do with)
2018-09-05 08:00 am
Entry tags:

Continuing to transition

Me, to Fiona : “So, IF I started thinking about dating again, what sort of guy do you think—“
Fiona (adamantly): “No.”
Me: “No, really, I just wondered—“
Fiona: “No. I’m not going there.”
Me: “Fiona, this is purely theoretical. You’re a mathematician, right? You can deal with the theoretical. Think of it like, um, pairing numbers.”
Fiona: “I happen to dislike even numbers.”

At which point, I cracked up and abandoned the conversation. No dating advice will be forthcoming from my daughter. (And it’s really true. She likes odd numbers better than even numbers. She likes prime numbers best of all, bless her nerdy heart.)

In other news, I donated 460 books to the Friends of the Library yesterday. They were mystery hardbacks, a genre I hardly ever read (except for a few selected authors). Many of them Rob BOUGHT at the Friends of the Library book sales over the years (he would go at the end of the day and bring home grocery bags full of books that he'd gotten for $1 each--uncaring of my shrill complaints: "Where are we going to PUT them all?") I hope to consolidate three of the remaining bookcases into the open shelves, which would allow me to remove bookcases that are sitting in the archway between my living room and my dining room. Then I can go shopping for new furniture.

Rob loved his books so, so much, and I did, too, but the number that he collected was excessive. It is incredibly painful to get rid of some. And hopeful. I sent the Snapchat below to the girls, and Delia called me up to console me and tell me that she was proud of me. And I am, and yet...ugh. I slept badly last night.

bookcase
pegkerr: (Default)
2015-09-19 09:31 am

A start to a fine Saturday morning

Newspaper at the island in my (still newishly) refurbished kitchen, Chocolate Banana Mug Cake (under 400 calories) made in my Jane Austen mug.

Morning, everyone!

pegkerr: (Deal with it and keep walking)
2014-11-20 09:48 pm

Updated to do list again

Peg's to do list for the next several weeks before (and possibly after) Rob is out of the hospital:

•Finalize the kitchen repairs bid and pick paint colors Edited to add: The numbers are still a little squishy and may simply depend on what they are able to accomplish before Rob comes home.
•Contact bathroom contractor about coming back to do the tile work in the kitchen
•Speak with kitchen contractor about turning utility closet in the kitchen into a pantry. Spoken with him. This still needs to be done. Edited to add 11/24/14: The contractor is going to be doing this today.
•Buy new blinds for the kitchen.
•Determine what furniture to add to the kitchen (drop leaf table? Possible new center island?) and what, if any, should be taken out (coat box? Microwave cart?) If I decide on new pieces, try to find them for a reasonable price. Edited to add: Have ordered microwave cart--already received, which I need to assemble--and kitchen island. Coat box has been moved to the garage, and I have an interested buyer; just need to decide upon and let her know the price.
•Call Open Arms of Minnesota to notify them I need to cut my delivery in half since Rob is hospitalized.
•Get Rob checked into the hospital.
•Vote
•Go to work. Pay ALL the bills. Including the ones that Rob usually pays.Edited to add: Ongoing.
•Move stuff wherever possible so that the kitchen repairs can be completed. (Into the den? From one end of the kitchen to the other? Um...)Edited to add: OMG, so much moving around and shuffling of boxes. It feels like it is neverending, but my sister and mom came over and achieved superhuman work, shifting stuff around and paring and organizing. My guest room is now nearly finished. We can actually walk through the dining room now.
•Cull stuff from kitchen cabinets Edited to add: Ongoing.
•Contact the carpet installer and have him put the new carpet into the den.
•Contact the carpet installer again to let him know he left a carpet sample behind and leave it for him on the porch for him to pick up Edited to add: I've contacted him several times. He still hasn't picked it up.
•Contact bathroom contractor and ask him to remove trash receptacle from my garage. It is preventing me from parking my car inside the garage. Edited to add: I have attempted to contact him several times. Maddeningly, he still hasn't picked it up so my car is still outside. Continually being covered with frost and snow.
•Move Rob's car for street cleaning of autumn leaves
•Move Rob's car to Fiona's apartment building garage Edited to add: This has been delayed because we had to get the fob back from one of her roommates' mother. I desperately hope I can get this accomplished before Rob gets home from the hospital. But it takes coordinating schedules with me, Fiona, and someone who can drive me back after I drop the car off. Have been too busy to arrange. Edited to add 11/24/14: Done! And I forgot the handicapped tag from the glove compartment. Fiona has the fob but doesn't have Rob's car key. She is going to get the key from Rob on her next visit, get the handicapped tag, and return the key and tag to him.
•Pay the contractors when jobs are done. Update the spreadsheet and keep track of the receipts. (Ongoing)
•Set date and send out invitations for Garage Tetris work party.
•Pick up pallets from Best Buy for the garage reorganization Thanks for providing transportation, Dave M.
•Reorganize the boxes in the garage so more can be added (work party).
•Take the bookcase out of the garage and use some the contractor's paint to paint it. When it's dry, it'll go into the dining room and be restocked with books. Edited to add: Had hoped the kitchen contractor could do this, but he may not have time before Rob gets back. Now it looks as though we will use some of the paint left over from the kitchen and do this ourselves. Edited to add 11/24/14: Bookcase is now in the kitchen. Contractor has agreed to do this and hopefully will complete the project today or tomorrow
•Delegate some people to take certain objects out of the garage to possible new homes. Top of barbecue to scrap metal dealer. Old bicycle to nephews for parts? See if anyone can take the task to see if the ebay store in Edina would accept Rob's law library books to try to sell on eBay. Edited to add Partially done. My nephew is now doing a blog about the process of stripping down and rebuilding Rob's old bicycle.
•Take boxes in Fiona's old bed room and move some to garage, and the rest to the den.
•Turn Fiona's old bedroom into guest room. Rearrange the furniture, including the new futon. Rearrange the closet in there, and put sheets and towels in the dresser, clean out old medications, and set it up to be a medications/first aid only cabinet. Buy lamp for corner table. Hang artwork. Edited to add: Fiona still needs to go through some things. I still need to file some things. One piece of artwork is hung, another needs to be put up. But it looks much, much better.
•Text girls regarding various objects: keep or discard? Are they willing to take them? Ongoing
•Visit Rob in the hospital (ongoing). Take him his mail, bring home his dirty laundry. (Dirty laundry which must be washed SEPARATELY due to nasty chemotherapy drugs). Bring clean laundry back.
•Return Rob's books to the library. Pick up the book he had placed on reserve and deliver it to him.
•Buy a love seat for the den (We've picked one at Ikea. And no, I am not going to drive to pick it up or assemble it myself. I will PAY to have someone do that).Edited to add: shout out of thanks to my neighbor who has volunteered to pick up and assemble this once we purchase it. Done!
•Buy a single sleeper futon for Fiona's old bed room/eventually my office (several relatives have volunteered to come from out of town for caregiving, and we have no guest room). Fiona asked me to have her come along since she had plenty of painful experience with Bad Futons and can hopefully help me avoid them. Edited to add: As mentioned above, futon now has been picked up and is in place.
•Finish research and buy an air purifier. Edited to add Mom bought two hospital grade HEPA air purifiers for me, and I've been running them. My asthma is already better. Thanks, Mom!
•Buy a medical alert bracelet for Rob.
•Contact my nephews and arrange time to put furniture back in the den. Edited to add: This was done by the Garage Tetris Party work crew
•Put up the floor-to-ceiling bookcase in the den and replace all the books. Edited to add: Okay, some of the books. What do I do with the rest?
•Put up new cases for media Edited to add: Garage Tetris party did this.
•Do my best to set up Rob's electronics in the den Edited to add: My nephew David got a start on this.
•Move the large screen TV into the den, which is where it has belonged all along.
•Contact someone to do duct cleaning Edited to add: I contacted a company to arrange this. I had [livejournal.com profile] naomikritzer come over and help me disassemble an entire bookcase because it was standing on a cold air return. The bookcase and sixteen boxes of books were put out on the front porch. But when the duct cleaners arrived today, they said they couldn't clean our ducts because we have an old octopus-style furnace, and forcing air through the duct system would simply blow asbestos into the air. Not what we want, particularly with someone immune impaired. They suggested I cover the outflow vents with cheesecloth. And buy a new furnace. That latter bit of advice, especially, was not very helpful. And it was maddening that we had taken down that bookcase (and put it back up) for nothing. But look at it this way: I saved $400.
•Buy cheesecloth. Cover the vents. (maybe we won't need to do this until we reach the stem cell transplant stage.)
•Steam clean the carpets upstairs My sister Betsy did this; thank you, thank you.
•Dust everything everywhere (ongoing) Edited to add 11/24/14: Much dusting was done this past weekend.
•Put the garden to bed Edited to add: Alas, a premature snow storm may have rendered this moot.
•Figure out where family thanksgiving will be held (not my house, obviously).
•Figure out whether Rob can attend (probably won't know until that week). The doctors say he can.
•Figure out how I am going to get the items I received from Open Arms of Minnesota for Thanksgiving (frozen turkey, pie, other Thanksgiving fixings) to my sister-in-law who is going to be cooking the Thanksgiving dinner. Done! Ingredients handed off.
•Figure out how to get Delia home from the University for Thanksgiving if I can't leave Rob alone. Perhaps she can grab a ride from someone, or perhaps she will stay there and have Thanksgiving with her uncle and aunt? Some other arrangement have been made, and Elinor Dashwood is not talking about it.
•Set up 24/7 caregiving schedule for Rob (through Christmas)? Edited to add: Uh, I know who the caregiver is for the first week.
•Christmas shopping. Probably entirely on line.
•Buy a new electric blanket (ours is old and grotty and therefore unsafe for the immune-suppressed) and new sheets (we have only one set, and they have to be cleaned/changed frequently when he comes home).
•Buy pillow protectors for our bed and a mattress cover for when guests use the futon. Done!
•Buy a throw rug for the entrance to Rob's den/mancave. Done!
•Arrange to have new smoke detectors installed Done!
•Arrange to have new doorbell installed Done!
•Arrange to get the light over our bed fixed--pull chain got pulled out of the overhead fan. Done!
•Pick up chain extender for pull chain for the light. Done!
•Pick up Rob's glasses for repair because the nose piece snapped off and get them back to him. My sister Betsy picked them up and got them repaired and handed them off to me, and I got them back to Rob tonight.
•Clean EVERYTHING in the kitchen once doors are rehung. Counters, floor, appliances, inside cabinets. Edited to add 11/24/14: The contractors are back today doing touch ups, so more cleaning may be required.
•Buy a new flatware chest for the good flatware kept in one of my kitchen drawers, since my old one is falling apart and the part that holds the knives is flopping over the other pieces. (Stopped at Bed Bath & Beyond yesterday, but discovered the piece I wanted was online only. Will do further research).
•Lay down new shelf paper and repack the cabinets, pulling the kitchen back together. Done! At least as much as can be done until the pantry is finished and the kitchen island is assembled.
•Pick which items will go in the new microwave cart once it's assembled, pack it, and put it in place. Get rid of old cart. Done!
•Arrange with Betsy and GregLuke and Julius to pick up the kitchen island from my workplace once it's delivered there (they are going to take it to their home here to assemble and then deliver it to mine). Put it into place and fill the cabinets.
•Buy stools for the drop leaf table at the kitchen cabinet.
•Send out holiday cards and letter (already purchased).
•Speak with visitation pastor at church about coming to give me communion. I won't be able to go to church until Rob can be left alone--I'm not planning to arrange caregivers for the weekend Edited to add: I've spoken with him, but we haven't set a time yet.

It would be nice, but I'm not sure I'll get to it:
•Contracting for electrical repairs
•Contract to get an iron hand rail installed for the steps up to our house Done! And installed.
•Buying new towels and rugs for our newly refinished bathroom
•Thank you notes Edited to add: I've managed to write a few. Otherwise I'm relying on heartfelt, short emails.
•Keep up with Alternity
pegkerr: (Deal with it and keep walking)
2014-11-17 10:25 pm

Today's accomplishments

•Called insurer with a question about coverage
•Called a medical provider for Fiona and argued with them about a bill
•Texted both girls inquiring about insurance coverage they have through their colleges.
•Ordered microwave cart
•Attempted to order kitchen island (back-ordered till end of the month) and had myself put on list to be notified when they are back in
•Researched duct cleaning companies
•Asked [livejournal.com profile] naomikritzer to check out their reviews on Angie's list
•Using the information [livejournal.com profile] naomikritzer gave me, contacted three duct cleaning companies and lined up an appointment with one to come out and clean the ducts Thursday
•Emailed my mom to ask her to research best buys on electric blankets
•Arranged to get work off Thursday, arranged for helpers Wednesday night and Thursday morning to pull boxes, etc., away from ducts for Thursday afternoon appointment
•Received and reviewed updated kitchen bid from contractor, sent reply email
•The stair rails outside our house have been installed! Spoke with the contractor about arranging to get him a check tomorrow
•Dashed home for five minute consult with kitchen contractor, took pictures of stair rails to send to family, picked up a coupon
•Went to therapy appointment. Delivered note from Rob to another medical provider.
•Grabbed a quick dinner on the road
•Drove to hospital where I visited with Rob and friends Scott and Dana
•Reviewed information Mom sent about electric blankets
•Contacted both girls to ask what color blankets they would like
•With Rob, ordered electric blankets for family online (more than 50% off!)
•Briefly discussed kitchen bid with Rob and got check from him to give to kitchen contractor tomorrow
•Took a few items home for Rob
•Home at 9:30 p.m. Briefly considered balancing my checkbook and decided Nah. I've done enough today.
pegkerr: (Deal with it and keep walking)
2014-11-16 10:36 pm
Entry tags:

It's been a weekend of frustrations

It's been a weekend of some good, but plenty of frustrations.

Rob's car has been flashing a low oil light. Fine, I figured, I would go and get the oil changed before putting it into winter storage. Yesterday was Rob's birthday, and the family was gathering in his hospital room--including Delia, whose Uncle Phil drove her from Eau Claire for the occasion--and I missed some of it because I spent four and a half hours stuck at the oil change place. And I didn't get out without spending over $200 for an oil change, an air filter, new wiper blades...and a broken hood latch, which is what prevented them from getting the work done. And it still isn't really fixed. There's a wire that has to be pulled with a pair of pliers to open the hood.

That was just one of a series of petty frustrations and setbacks.

I have chilblains. I am washing my hands frequently, both to keep from getting sick, and because you have to wash before and after visiting the hospital unit (I wear a paper mask when I visit him, too--he has a white blood count that is practically zero). My hands are dry, cracked, red, swollen and painful. How do health workers deal with this, washing their hands forty times a day?

But some good things have happened, too. It was good to see family yesterday, and that they could see Rob on his birthday. I ran the girls home for a quick look at all the work that's being done in the house, and they were delighted and impressed with the progress. The futon is now delivered! And it fits perfectly in the space. I had a good visit with Rob today. We've been reading aloud to each other from Robert Gilbraith (J.K. Rowling's) The Silkworm and we're almost finished with it.
pegkerr: (Default)
2014-11-09 09:30 pm
Entry tags:

Updated to do list

Peg's to do list for the next several weeks before (and possibly after) Rob is out of the hospital:

•Finalize the kitchen repairs bid and pick paint colors
•Contact bathroom contractor about coming back to do the tile work in the kitchen
•Speak with kitchen contractor about turning utility closet in the kitchen into a pantry.
•Determine what furniture to add to the kitchen (drop leaf table? Possible new center island?) and what, if any, should be taken out (coat box? Microwave cart?) If I decide on new pieces, try to find them for a reasonable price.
•Call Open Arms of Minnesota to notify them I need to cut my delivery in half since Rob is hospitalized.
•Get Rob checked into the hospital.
•Vote
•Go to work. Pay ALL the bills. Including the ones that Rob usually pays.Edited to add: Ongoing.
•Move stuff wherever possible so that the kitchen repairs can be completed. (Into the den? From one end of the kitchen to the other? Um...)Edited to add: partially done, by a crew of lovely ladies who came this past Thursday. Thanks!
•Cull stuff from kitchen cabinets Edited to add: Ongoing.
•Contact the carpet installer and have him put the new carpet into the den.
•Contact the carpet installer again to let him know he left a carpet sample behind and leave it for him on the porch for him to pick up
•Move Rob's car for street cleaning of autumn leaves
•Move Rob's car, as necessary, during snow emergencies (ongoing) Edited to add: This morning's golden realization: Fiona has an assigned INDOOR PARKING PLACE at her apartment building that neither she nor her roommates are using. She's going to check, but we think Rob's car can move there for the winter.
•Pay the contractors when jobs are done. Update the spreadsheet and keep track of the receipts. (Ongoing)
•Set date and send out invitations for Garage Tetris work party.
•Pick up pallets from Best Buy for the garage reorganization Thanks for providing transportation, Dave M.
•Reorganize the boxes in the garage so more can be added (work party).
•Take the bookcase out of the garage and use some the contractor's paint to paint it. When it's dry, it'll go into the dining room. Edited to add: Have emailed the contractor about seeing whether he can do this and what it will cost
•Delegate some people to take certain objects out of the garage to possible new homes. Top of barbecue to scrap metal dealer. Old bicycle to nephews for parts? See if anyone can take the task to see if the ebay store in Edina would accept Rob's law library books to try to sell on eBay. Edited to add Partially done. Some of these items were simply left out for sanitation. My cousin Jill helpfully took a carload of stuff to Savers. I took the punching bag and sold it today to Play It Again Sports. Still need to get to the ebay store.
•Take boxes in Fiona's old bed room and move some to garage, and the rest to the den.Edited to add: Partially done. Garage boxes are out.
•Text girls regarding various objects: keep or discard? Are they willing to take them? Ongoing
•Visit Rob in the hospital (ongoing). Take him his mail, bring home his dirty laundry. (Dirty laundry which must be washed SEPARATELY due to nasty chemotherapy drugs).
•Buy a love seat for the den (We've picked one at Ikea. And no, I am not going to drive to pick it up or assemble it myself. I will PAY to have someone do that).Edited to add: shout out of thanks to my neighbor who has volunteered to pick up and assemble this once we purchase it.
•Buy a single sleeper futon for Fiona's old bed room/eventually my office (several relatives have volunteered to come from out of town for caregiving, and we have no guest room). Fiona asked me to have her come along since she had plenty of painful experience with Bad Futons and can hopefully help me avoid them.
•Finish research and buy an air purifier.
•Buy a medical alert bracelet for Rob.
•Contact my nephews and arrange time to put furniture back in the den. Edited to add: This was done by the Garage Tetris Party work crew
•Put up the floor-to-ceiling bookcase in the den and replace all the books. Edited to add: Okay, some of the books. What do I do with the rest?
•Put up new cases for media Edited to add: Garage Tetris party did this.
•Do my best to set up Rob's electronics in the den Edited to add: My nephew David got a start on this.
•Move the large screen TV into the den, which is where it has belonged all along.
•Contact someone to do duct cleaning
•Steam clean the carpets upstairs
•Dust everything everywhere
•Put the garden to bed Edited to add: Alas, a premature snow storm may have rendered this moot.
•Figure out where family thanksgiving will be held (not my house, obviously).
•Figure out whether Rob can attend (probably won't know until that week).
•Figure out how to get Delia home from the University for Thanksgiving if I can't leave Rob alone. Perhaps she can grab a ride from someone, or perhaps she will stay there and have Thanksgiving with her uncle and aunt?
•Set up 24/7 caregiving schedule for Rob (through Christmas)?
•Christmas shopping. Probably entirely on line.
•Buy a new electric blanket (ours is old and grotty and therefore unsafe for the immune-suppressed) and new sheets (we have only one set, and they have to be cleaned/changed frequently when he comes home).
•Send out holiday cards and letter (already purchased).

It would be nice, but I'm not sure I'll get to it:
•Contracting for electrical repairs
•Contract to get an iron hand rail installed for the steps up to our house
•Buying new towels and rugs for our newly refinished bathroom
•Thank you notes
•Keep up with Alternity
pegkerr: (Default)
2014-11-09 09:25 pm
Entry tags:

The Garage Tetris Party was a great success

Thanks to all who came out to help. CaringBridge post is here.

Meanwhile: Rob's donor comes to the hospital to have his NK cells removed. They will be processed overnight and then administered to Rob on Tuesday.
pegkerr: (Default)
2014-11-04 11:25 pm
Entry tags:

Garage Tetris party this Saturday afternoon

Short CaringBridge post here, mainly to ask for help this coming Saturday afternoon reorganizing the garage. We need to reshuffle the boxes into a more useable configuration and add more boxes from Rob's de-constructed mancave. The fun starts at 1:00 p.m., and I hope that the people who said that snow starts tomorrow were only kidding. The CaringBridge post has instructions on where to email if you think you can attend. Thank you.
pegkerr: (Holy Tree Haiti)
2014-11-04 09:24 pm
Entry tags:

Here's one more item checked off my list

I purchased a futon today to go into my former office/Fiona's former bedroom/hopefully my office again someday as well as a guest bedroom.

As you can see, it has the Fiona Seal of Approval. It's on the smallish side, which makes it perfect for this space, and it just feels cozy to me. The back isn't too tall so it won't cover up the built in bookcase on the wall where I am going to place it.

Futon with Fiona Seal of Approval 11/4/14

Not in that fabric, though. There weren't many choices for this model, but here was one that did make me think, glancingly, of trees, so this is the fabric I picked.

Fabric for Futon 11/4/14

It will be ready to be picked up in about 10 days. So I will have guest sleeping quarters for out of town caregivers. Or at least one out of town caregiver at a time. Phew.
pegkerr: (Default)
2014-10-31 07:54 pm

Clinical trial starts TUESDAY. And we could really use some help

Read the details at our CaringBridge post here.

Peg's to do list for the next several weeks before (and possibly after) Rob is out of the hospital:

•Finalize the kitchen repairs bid and pick paint colors
•Call Open Arms of Minnesota to notify them I need to cut my delivery in half since Rob is hospitalized.
•Get Rob checked into the hospital.
•Vote
•Go to work. Pay ALL the bills. Including the ones that Rob usually pays.
•Move stuff wherever possible so that the kitchen repairs can be completed. (Into the den? From one end of the kitchen to the other? Um...)
•Contact the carpet installer and have him put the new carpet into the den.
•Pay the contractors when jobs are done. Update the spreadsheet and keep track of the receipts.
•Set date and send out invitations for Garage Tetris work party.
•Reorganize the boxes in the garage so more can be added (work party).
•Take the bookcase out of the garage and use some the contractor's paint to paint it. When it's dry, it'll go into the dining room.
•Delegate some people to take certain objects out of the garage to possible new homes. Top of barbecue to scrap metal dealer. Old bicycle to nephews for parts? See if anyone can take the task to see if the ebay store in Edina would accept Rob's law library books to try to sell on eBay.
•Take boxes in Fiona's old bed room and move some to garage, and the rest to the den.
•Visit Rob in the hospital (ongoing).
•Buy a love seat for the den (We've picked one at Ikea. And no, I am not going to drive to pick it up or assemble it myself. I will PAY to have someone do that).Edited to add: shout out of thanks to my neighbor who has volunteered to pick up and assemble this once we purchase it.
•Buy a single sleeper futon for Fiona's old bed room/eventually my office (several relatives have volunteered to come from out of town for caregiving, and we have no guest room). Fiona asked me to have her come along since she had plenty of painful experience with Bad Futons and can hopefully help me avoid them.
•Finish research and buy an air purifier.
•Buy a medical alert bracelet for Rob.
•Contact my nephews and arrange time to put furniture back in the den.
•Put up the floor-to-ceiling bookcase in the den and replace all the books.
•Put up new cases for media
•Do my best to set up Rob's electronics in the den
•Move the large screen TV into the den, which is where it has belonged all along.
•Contact someone to do duct cleaning
•Steam clean the carpets upstairs
•Dust everything everywhere
•Put the garden to bed
•Figure out where family thanksgiving will be held (not my house, obviously).
•Figure out whether Rob can attend (probably won't know until that week).
•Figure out how to get Delia home from the University for Thanksgiving if I can't leave Rob alone. Perhaps she can grab a ride from someone, or perhaps she will stay there and have Thanksgiving with her uncle and aunt?
•Set up 24/7 caregiving schedule for Rob (through Christmas)?
•Christmas shopping. Probably entirely on line.
•Buy a new electric blanket (ours is old and grotty and therefore unsafe for the immune-suppressed) and new sheets (we have only one set, and they have to be cleaned/changed frequently when he comes home).
•Send out holiday cards and letter (already purchased).

It would be nice, but I'm not sure I'll get to it:
•Contracting for electrical repairs
•Contract to get an iron hand rail installed for the steps up to our house
•Buying new towels and rugs for our newly refinished bathroom
•Thank you notes
•Keep up with Alternity

Do you wonder why I've turned out all the lights tonight and am not handing out trick or treat candy?
pegkerr: (Glory and Trumpets)
2014-10-20 08:02 pm
Entry tags:

The bathroom is DONE!

Done, done, done. I have taken a shower in my own home for the first time in six weeks.

Here is what things looked like at the beginning of the project.

Here it is now.

IMG_0815

IMG_0814

(The tiles look a little pinkish in my flash, but they are white.)

Thanks to the generosity of our families, who made this rehab possible. And thanks to [livejournal.com profile] minnehaha B and K, who generously hosted us for the two days our toilet was out of commission.
pegkerr: (But this is terrible!)
2014-10-06 07:57 pm
Entry tags:

So close...

This was supposed to be the last week of bathroom repair and then I was going to have my lovely new bathroom back. My BATHTUB back.

Today, the chap came in who was going to re-enamel the tub. They hooked up the drain and ran water through it for the first time in a month--and the water promptly leaked out of the piping around the drain and from there poured through the kitchen ceiling down below.

We are still trying to reach a plumber who can fix the problem for us.

Nooooooooooo!!!!
pegkerr: (Give her hell from us Peeves)
2014-10-03 10:44 pm
Entry tags:

Rob's been accepted in the clinical trial

Rob has been accepted as a patient in a clinical trial which we hope will get him to the point that he'll be able to have a stem cell transplant. Read more about it at our CaringBridge here.
pegkerr: (Default)
2014-09-03 10:38 pm
Entry tags:

Rob's still in the hospital, and bathroom destruction continues

When I returned home today, the old vanity was gone, all the tiles had been pulled from the shower stall, and the ugly paneling and wallpaper had disappeared. The smell of mold and/or mildew is quite strong, which worries me, for Rob's sake. I'm keeping all of the doors upstairs closed in case any bats get into that part of the house, now that there is no barrier between the bathroom and the roof. I have no intention of being awakened by a bat circling around my head tonight, particularly since the designated bat catcher is in the hospital until tomorrow.
pegkerr: (Default)
2014-09-02 09:12 pm
Entry tags:

And in other news....

Remember how I mentioned a YEAR ago that we had some tiles fall out of our shower? And we just hung a shower curtain over the gap and lived with it?

Thanks to several generous gifts from some of our family members, we are starting the bathroom reconstruction. Our ONE AND ONLY bathroom. The demolition phase is taking place while Rob is in the hospital, which will hopefully shield him from the worst of the dust and mold.

Yes, I will have no shower for three weeks. No toilet for two days (we'll probably stay with a friend or rent a hotel room for that).

Gutted bathroom 9/2/14

Gutted shower - 9/2/14
pegkerr: (We'll just have to wing it mate)
2014-08-14 09:30 pm
Entry tags:

Rob is home again

I have received hospital training in how to flush his PICC line. So far so good; he is riding the drugs that they give him to buffer the effects, but this chemo is much much worse when the buffering drugs wear off. We'll just have to see how it goes.

A decision has been made that we cannot put off the bathroom repair any longer, due to Rob's compromised immunity. We had a contractor in today who will give us a bid tomorrow. He says he can start in two weeks. The work will take six weeks. It is the only bathroom in the house.

I am trying not to panic about this, really.
pegkerr: (Oh well spotted)
2014-05-13 10:26 pm

Bunny

There is a bunny living in or very near our yard. I see it almost every day, either in the morning when I leave or at night when I come home, just hanging out, freezing in the hopes it won't be observed.

For years, 'bunny' has been the favored endearment in our family. Now, in this time of stress and grief, it feels oddly like a sign. Of hope, or a guardian spirit, or a patronus or something. It doesn't make any sense to think so, but it still lifts my heart a little, every time I see it.
pegkerr: (candle)
2014-02-13 06:04 pm

Taking the legs off the table

When I had moved out in my twenties, I needed a kitchen table. My Mom and Dad brought one to me at my apartment. I still remember them carrying it across that long parking lot on a hot summer's day. I'm not quite sure where they got it. Used, maybe, or perhaps from a relative. It was painted an ugly shade of thick brown paint.(Edited to add: Rob remembers that there was a thick coat of dark green OVER the dark brown.)

I spent weeks stripping and sanding that table down to the bare wood, working in the outdoor patio behind Rob's apartment (this was before we were married). It took so long because I had to dig into the crevices in the legs with the edge of a nail file to chase every last bit of brown paint out in the detailing of the lathe-turned grooves. You can still see tiny bits of the paint, like shadows, proof that I was not an expert used furniture refinisher by any means. I don't remember what the wood was, but I stained it a red maple color and covered it with a protective gloss. I remember how vexed I was by a stray hair that floated in on a breeze and caught in the gloss and affixed itself there, like an insect caught in amber.

We moved it to our first apartment together, and it became our first table. When we moved again, to our house where the girls were born, the table was put in the dining room. Rather too humble, aesthetically, for the space, but it fit perfectly, and when we covered it with a cloth, and put the best dishes on it, it suited us well. Two leaves could be pulled out from the ends to add length whenever we had guests.

Over the years, of course, there were scars. Delia the toddler banged her spoon incessantly, and so there is a patina of half-moon shaped scars on her side of the table. (We always sat at the same places.) Once, someone put a candlestick on the table, and some liquid spilled and soaked the felt cushion underneath, leaving a stain which marked the varnish. There is the smear of nail polish where Delia was experimenting, and I couldn't rub it off. I didn't want to try anything stronger that would take off the finish. I'll admit I wasn't always scrupulously quick about wiping away everyday stains.

It's used, battered, and hardly an heirloom. But we loved that table. We grew our family around it, and told our jokes, and traded our bon mots and cracked each other up. We had raging arguments, often about whether onions must be eaten or not. Fiona banged the back of her head against the back of her chair 1,346,234 times and never never remembered not to do it the next night. We ate our Christmas breakfasts and celebrated twelfth night there. We brought various hopeful Boys to join us. Fiona perfected her pterodactyl mating call there. We held hands around it and blessed our meals, and cried and screamed and raged and loved each other there.

We didn't have a hearth, so we used a table instead.

My mom is moving from the apartment she shared with Dad to a smaller senior complex. She had to downsize, and so she offered us her dining room table, the one I grew up with. It, too, has a rich family history, and many happy memories. It is bigger than ours: we will have to take leaves out and put the ends down, and we can't sit in the same configuration, because you can't put your feet under the drop leaf ends.

But. It, too, is the family table with a lot of lovely memories, and I hated to see it go to some strangers. Yes, we will take it, I said, and when the girls leave home, Rob and I can take all the leaves out, drop the sides, and it will work as a long narrow table for just the two of us. And then one of the girls can take our table when they leave to set up their own household.

Mom is going to be using the old oak table she had in her kitchen, the one she received from her mother-in-law (yet another generation's worth of memories).

So I have taken the legs off our table...

Dissassembling the table

We will have to do our Valentine boxes breakfast Japanese-style, on the floor, tomorrow morning,

Dissassembling the table

and then hustle it into the basement, so the dining room is clear when the truck brings Mom's old dining room table to our house.

And our old table will wait, patiently, in the basement, until either Fiona or Delia move out, painstakingly reassemble it, and gather friends and a new family around it to make a new generation of memories.