I’m Baaaack! ๐Ÿ’–

The Juniper Cowl by @tlyarncrafts

Hi everyone! It has been a long hiatus. Too long. I missed posting and reading your comments. I wouldn’t have stayed away so long, but a few things got in the way. This has been a rough year for me and my husband. The biggest issue this year has been our health. (Warning: This blog installment won’t be about crochet today. )

In August, my husband was diagnosed with throat cancer–not long after he retired. He began 5 weeks of intensive treatment of radiation and chemotherapy in September and finished the second week of October. Then came the recovery. In some ways, I believe the recovery was worse than the treatment. I won’t go into all the gory details but I will say his energy level became even worse during recovery. It was scary for me because the life was just gone from his eyes. I hope I don’t have to see that again anytime soon! The good news is, he has a final PET scan in January to determine the effectiveness of the treatment. But so far, his radiation doctor told him he is 99% sure the treatment worked. We are crossing our fingers until then and are mostly optimistic. Other than some loss of taste, he is basically back to his old self. We were able to celebrate Solstice with our kids last weekend and it was such a good time.

I have had my own health concerns as well. I believe I wrote a few months back about a mystery illness I experienced after a COVID booster in June. I had a brief resurgence of symptoms during the fall. I discovered by accident the symptoms although were consistent with an immune response to the the booster were linked to issues with my spine. I have scoliosis and while it could be considered a mild case, the symptoms as one gets older and without maintenance are quite troublesome and painful. However, I had begun care with a chiropractor that understands Scoliosis and provides the Graston technique — https://youtu.be/9Kl7lMCtBUI She has been of great help to me. I’m also utilizing deep tissue massage and later will go to physical therapy. I used to think massage was a luxury. But for me, it’s a foundation of caring for a body that is compromised by musculoskeletal issues. I wish I would have known when I was younger to address my spinal needs sooner. But unfortunately none of the health professionals I’ve encountered thought it important to address with me. I just put up with the pain. So, I want to share, if you have back problems, do whatever you need to and can to take them seriously! The tissues in the fascia and the nerve connections have a great impact on your bodily functions. I am realizing now they probably have been part of a chronic gut health issue for me.

As if that wasn’t enough, our house wasn’t doing so well either. It is a 100-year-old structure and that means we have to put up with a few things and can’t skate along on the maintenance. But this year, some major issues came to a head. We had planned to overhaul the electrical system as most of it was installed 100 years ago. We knew that would be expensive. We had a wonderful electrician help us and so far so good. But the plumbing decided it wanted some attention too.

The bathroom and the kitchen have both had lots of issues, including the shower and sink waste piping wasn’t properly connected and the grey water was spilling out under the house! The took several days to address. But the worst was a few weeks ago. Our kitchen sink was perpetually slow draining. We had tried a drain cleaner but it didn’t seem to work. I went to the hardware store to find another to try. I decided to buy one that was “environmentally friendly.”

My husband started pouring it down the drain and it made a huge popping sound, not unlike an explosion, and a black cloud billowed from the drain. Naturally, we were frightened, but the sink problem had been so bothersome, we persisted. I know, not the brightest thing, but you have to consider we had such plumber fatigue. They had been out to our house probably half a dozen times this year for various problems. Anyway, my husband succeeded in getting all the solution poured, but in a few minutes, the foulest stench started coming out of the drain. It was so bad, we put our masks on but it really didn’t help. We got out our larger fans and opened the doors hoping it would kick the nasty odors to the curb. But even with the fans on full blast, we couldn’t get a break from the smell. It even started issuing from the drains in the bathroom. Considering the bathroom is at one end of the house and the kitchen at the other, we were being attacked from both ends!

Oh, and I forgot to mention this was at 11 pm. Not only was it dark, but it was cold and raining. My husband was following the directions to pour the volatile mixture down the drain before going to bed. I was exhausted after an hour of this and decided I would probably fall asleep, smell or no smell. Thankfully, the bedrooms had escaped most of the hellish aroma.

The next day, the smell was gone. I looked at the directions on the bottle and there was a vague reference to covering the drains with a heavy pan but no explanation as to why. We finally somehow figured out the smell must have come from the clogged drain because the solution was virtually odorless. Anyway, after all that, the drain had the impudence to still be clogged!! We resentfully acquiesced that we would have to call the plumber after all.

Later, after one failed plumber visit, the second plumber successfully snaked the pipe but informed us it is slowly failing as there are holes in it and will have to be replaced. Because of how the drain is situated, under a concrete pad beneath the middle of the house, our nice hardwood floors (the one in the kitchen is relatively new) will have to be pulled up and the concrete jack hammered at some point. I think I am in shock as I write this because my brain still can’t wrap around it.

I know, at this point, you might be thinking, “Why don’t they move?” It’s probably what most reasonable people would think and do. But being the mildly eccentric people we are, it’s not something we can consider at this point.

For all its problems, we do love this place. It actually wasn’t built as a house. It is an old Masonic Lodge. The original Masons wound up consolidating with another group in the next small town over. My husband bought it quite cheaply in the 90s when it had been mostly abandoned.

The upstairs is still set up as their big meeting hall with a stage and lots of open space. We held out marriage reception there complete with a band. This is the place we both do our creating. My husband is a musician and now that he’s retired and recovered, he is setting up a recording area. While I have my office at the other end where I see clients via telehealth. I also have a sewing area in another corner and do all my crochet blocking in this area. I can grow our garden seedlings in the south facing windows. It’s got a lot of stuff strewn around (lack of storage cabinets) and if we ever get it sorted better, I will post some photos.

Well….I know I have gone on for awhile about our problems this year. If you have hung in this far, thank you! I promise the next installment will be crochet related. How has your year been?

I wish you a peaceful and pleasant Holiday, however you celebrate it.

Here’s to a better 2023!