Monday, October 29, 2012

Hunkered Down in The Woo

Yep, we're hunkered down in Worcester, affectionately known as "The Woo" to many. We've been buffeted with much rain and wind today as we sit on the outer edge of Hurricane Sandy's reach. Fortunately, we haven't lost power nor seen much impact from Sandy. 

Many of you will recall that last year, just about this time, we had an October Nor'easter that dropped a lot of snow in these parts. We lost power for more than 3 days and ended up spending 2 nights in a hotel and 2 nights at my mother's home on Cape Cod. 

Although widespread power outages were expected, I was cautiously optimistic we'd avoid last year's fate. First off, no snow was forecast here. It was the heavy, wet snow on trees still full of leaves that brought down so many power lines last year. Second, the utility companies must have figured out it cost more to go around repairing lines after storms like last year's than policing the limbs and trees overhanging their wires, so much pruning has occurred since last year, reducing the likelihood of power outages from limbs and trees falling on lines. Lastly, we live on a street with no power lines or telephone poles, so no falling trees would impact this neighborhood, power-wise.

"Expect the unexpected and unexpected never happens," said Norton Juster in The Phantom Tollbooth. Following his maxim, I spent most of yesterday preparing for a possible outage, even one severe enough to force us out of the house and into a hotel. Retrieved Skip's manual wheelchair from storage and cleaned it off. Charged up the power chair, the hoyer lift we'd need if we decamped and every other chargeable thing in the place. Gassed up the car, got cash, etc. etc. 

At first, I was mostly preparing for us to leave with an outage, as we had last year. But as time wore on, I realized we'd probably be able to stay at home if we lost power. The key difference between this year and last is: cold. Our house got down to about 60 degrees within hours of the outage, and then kept dropping, far too cold to comfortably stay there. Here, it's been in the 50s all day and now the temp is climbing with tomorrow projected to hit 70. I only heard the heat come on a time or two today it's been so mild. 

Happily, all the preparations were unnecessary as we've not lost power and the worst of the storm has passed. It rained all day. We experienced winds gusting up to 55mph. Now the winds are about 20mph with gusts up to the high 30s. We could still lose power ... MW just sent a text about 20 minutes ago saying that they'd just lost theirs ... but it becomes less likely with each passing minute. 

I'd say the biggest effect of the day has been caused by the low pressure. Apparently, the pressure is phenomenally low and it set some kind of record. The low pressure has given me a hellacious headache and caused all sorts of problems with my inner ears. I've been feeling a bit of vertigo and queasiness, so I took Zovran and Meclizine, my one-two punch of drugs to minimize the effects of my Meniere's disease. (Speaking of which, 2 weeks ago, I had a whopper Meniere's attack and had Skip call 911 to have an ambulance take me to the ER. I couldn't stand a 10-hour attack of vertigo and vomiting with the ground heaving like I was on a ship in a choppy sea. The EMT gave me Zovran and, voila, the nausea stopped! I'd never had Zovran before, but you better believe I got a prescription for it the day after my ER visit.)

So, the stress of pre-storm worry and today's waiting out the storm has taken its toll and I'm feeling pooped. Skip's already in bed. I just have to finish the dishes and take the dogs out then I, too, shall head to bed. When I wake up tomorrow, I hope for continued electricity and a return to normal air pressure. 

Hope you are all safe and snuggled in your homes tonight!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Where Do I Begin?

Greetings! Yes, it's been a long time since posting here. Almost 3 months. Lots of stuff to catch up on ...

  • The new digs: we love our new place. We're 90%+ settled in. I still have clutter around because I'm always prepping stuff to sell, either on eBay or in one of my spots at multi-dealer shops. But, other than stuff to sell that's still boxed up, all the boxes are emptied. Paintings are up. Routines are established. It's all good. 
  • Condo living: I love having neighbors in the building. I've gotten to know a number of dog owners as we often encounter each other when out with our pups. I'm a bit saddened by the coming cold weather as it'll have us all spending the minimum time outside with our dogs rather than hanging around in the outside warmth and giving the dogs more running time while we jibber jabber with one another. Sunday night, we had dinner in the unit of the woman who lives next door. It gave us a chance to get to know her better, eat her great food, visit with some other guests and just have an excellent time for ourselves. 
  • City living: there is a downside to the city -- the noise. As the summer heat waned and the evenings grew cooler, I started opening one of the windows in the bedroom at night. The loud trucks and other street noise disturbed Skip's sleep (not mine, I'm a log-like sleeper), so we've stopped leaving it open at night. But, there are far more upsides. Everything is so close! Within a mile of our home, there are over 40 restaurants! Trader Joe's, CVS, Starbucks, the dry cleaners and jillions of other stores are all a hop skip and jump from here. There are cultural things to take advantage of in the city as well -- museums, theaters and such. We haven't taken any of them in yet, but I know we will eventually.
  • The pups: Ruby adapted quickly to the new home. After all, she's pretty much of a couch potato and only wants to go outside to "do her business." Then, it's right back in for the closest couch or other soft spot for relaxing. She got used to being carried up/down the few stairs out to the dog spot very quickly. Addy, on the other, being more high-strung, found the change a bit distressing at first. In the beginning, I kept her on a leash most of the time outside because I didn't trust her to stay in the yard. She did not want to pee while on a leash and once went more than 24 hours without peeing. Searching online, I discovered this can happen with some dogs when there's a change or other stressor in their lives. She eventually built new routines, and now she's acclimated to the new way of life. One nice things is she's met a handful of dogs with whom she can play, so that's very good for her.
  • Crankiness: I admit it, I still get cranky. Nighttime is an especially difficult time for me, and when putting Skip to bed, it is easy for me to find something trivial to trigger a crankiness attack. We often go out on Fridays for dinner with my family, who now live very close by, or on Sundays for little excursions out into the city, so those evenings were the most problematic. Because when Skip is fully dressed for going out, it requires the most effort to put her to bed. Through one of Skip's aides, we found a woman, JL, who used to work as an aide and isn't working while she goes to nursing school, who now comes on Friday and Saturday nights and handles putting Skip to bed. It takes her about 45 minutes ... 45 minutes that used to be my responsibility. We've been doing this now for about a month. Skip didn't like it at first; she's always most comfortable with me helping. But now she and JL get along famously and she enjoys having her come for the visit. I still get cranky, but not on Friday and Sunday nights!
  • Work: I tried doing some sales work for a company owned by an old boss, whom I worked with successfully for 11 years. I have now found that pure sales work is not my cup of tea. I did a lot of sales work as a consultant -- getting new business was a key part of the job -- but it was only a portion of the work, not the whole magilla. The door is open if I want to go back and give it another try. For now, I'm going to put my focus, such as it is, into buying and selling antiques and collectables. Rather than buying abandoned storage units to get inventory, I'll concentrate on auctions, estate sales and garage sales. This way, I can ensure I buy only what I want rather than have to deal with the randomness and volume of a storage unit. This is something I enjoy very much, so that's half the battle, isn't it? It'll be a lot easier to maintain motivation when I like what I'm doing.
  • Gary: I met Gary, the Crafty Southpaw, and Josie through their respective blogs. We met in person at Foxwoods to play poker a few times and also went to a Red Sox game together in the spring. On October 2nd, Gary had a stroke! He's so young, far too young to have such a thing befall him. Josie doesn't drive and lives more than an hour from Gary's rehab hospital. I offered to give her a ride down to see him, giving me a chance to visit and do a good deed at the same time. We set last Wednesday as the date. JL came over to stay with Skip and I headed into Boston to pick up Josie. We slogged through the rush hour traffic and eventually got to Gary's about 5:30. What a brat! He pretended to be "strokey boy," slurring his speech, showing little affect and basically trying to freak me out. I admit I was surprised at his demeanor as I'd thought he was in better shape. Fortunately, he could only fake it for a minute or two, then he reverted to his Gary-ness and we joked and laughed for 2 or 3 hours. I got to meet Gary's wife, and, like Gary, she is smart and funny. It seems she also has a strong personality, which one needs when living with someone with as big a personality as Gary's. The best news of all about Gary is that he's steadily improving, regaining lost functionality and is strongly motivated to work hard to get the rest of it back. 
Well, that's about it for now. Two of Skip's brothers and one sister-in-law are coming over to see our new place at the end of next week. So, I'll have to spruce up the place and get better control of my stuff sale that's scattered around. That'll be a good time to take pics and, if I get my act together, I'll post some of them to record our new home's beauteousness.