Sunday, February 27, 2011

BRIGHT LIGHTS


I am not fond of bright lights. I prefer soft, subdued ones. My sixty-year-old home reflects that in every room. Unfortunately, aging has dimmed my husband’s outlook. His eyes ain’t what they used to be, and neither are mine. He’s been complaining for some time now, that it’s way too dark in here. He insists he needs more light. I have been resistant to any change, particularly in my kitchen. I like it the way it is. We have a lamp sitting on our kitchen table and a decorative florescent fixture overhead, plus lights under the kitchen cabinets, over the sink and stove. It’s bright enough. But my husband’s persistent nagging has taken its toll on me. I felt sorry for him. I finally relented and agreed to get a new ceiling light, so he’d shut up. This way we’d take the lamp off the table. He was thrilled. We immediately went looking for ideas at our local home improvement stores. It took us a while to find one we both liked. But there it was, on display at Menards. My husband thought it was perfect. Each cylinder on the fixture held up to a 100 watt bulb. There were four cylinders. Do the math… that’s 400 watts of light. I was mortified. It was going to be too bright. How much light do you really need? My husband agreed to use 60 watt bulbs instead. I conceded. Once that was settled, we purchased the fixture. Little did we know what can of worms we were opening. But the commitment was made. Unfortunately once we got it home, circumstances with my husband’s health prevented its installation. So it sat out in the garage unopened for about six months. Last week, my husband decided he was finally up to the challenge and wanted to tackle the project. He was so excited by the prospect of BRIGHT light, he was willing to overlook anything standing in the way of it. When he took off the old florescent light, he accused me of cutting corners, years before. He suggested we now had a problem because of it. Apparently, eight years ago, I had painted the ceiling, blush beige. I hadn’t taken down the light, that was there. I painted around it. (probably because he wasn't home to remove it) As a result, we now have a large rectangular white spot on the ceiling. What were we going to do about it? Did this mean he couldn’t put up his beloved NEW fixture? I looked at it for a minute and told him, it meant, obviously... we’d  have to repaint the ceiling. BUT because of my knees (up and down on a ladder), I couldn’t do it. He wasn’t sure he could either because of his vertigo. That meant budgeting for someone else to do it. We agreed we’d get it done by the month of May. Now, we have to find somebody to do it. In the meantime, my husband put up the new light. It’s beautiful. The only problem is, we now need to get new kitchen cabinets, too. The original ones look so-ooo bad in the brighter light, it isn’t funny. And there ain't enough money to replace them. Guess... we should have left well enough, alone.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

THE MRI EXPERIENCE

My husband has been having trouble with his hearing. He has tinnitus. It is really bad. It is interfering with his daily routine. He can’t concentrate because of all the noise he’s experiencing in his ears (actually in his head), so he decided to do something about it. After seeing two specialists, he thought the next logical step was a hearing aid of some kind. But instead, the doctor ordered an MRI scan of his brain. The purpose of this was to rule out a tumor. My husband took this revelation in stride, but it worried me. In his case, this procedure was scheduled to be given with and without contrast (dye), so the doctor would have a comprehensive, complete picture of what was going on inside his head. My hubby’s a tough guy. He likes to face these things alone. He doesn’t like anyone holding his hand while he‘s getting tests. So he was reluctant to let me go with him while he had this done. But I insisted, and he finally relented. It was agreed I should be there. So off we went to the hospital, early in the morning, to get this out of the way. The paperwork had all been filled out ahead of time, so my husband was whisked into the imaging center almost as soon as we arrived. He should be done in about an hour. I took out my Droid and began reading one of my Kindle books. Time melted away. Too much time. My gut told me something was wrong. I was right. Seems things didn’t go as planned. This first scans without the dye went fine. But when the nurse tried to inject the contrast dye for the second scans, it infiltrated, then collapsed my husband’s veins. He was in excruciating pain. The nurse panicked. She told my husband she had only been doing this job, for a year, and had never seen this happen before. She then called her supervisor. This woman had thirty years of experience under her belt and would know how to handle it. Calmly, the new nurse put an IV in my husband’s other arm and began to add the contrast. Same thing happened. It infiltrated and veins collapsed. More contrast (dye) leaked into my husband’s body. And more excruciating pain. They called a doctor to come take a look. He assured everyone these things happen and not to worry. They inserted another IV in my husband’s hand and tried again. This time… most of, but not all of the contrast, went in before the pattern repeated itself. My husband told them to just run the scan anyway, even though only 70% of the stuff got in. They said the results wouldn’t be accurate. My husband said he didn’t care, he had been poked and prodded enough. What an ordeal? When I finally saw him he looked disheveled and was white as a ghost. He said his back and neck were killing him from laying flat on that table, with his head in a cage for all those hours. Not to mention, both his arms and hand being in discomfort. I felt so sorry for him. His routine test, wasn’t so routine, after all. Can you imagine?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

VALENTINE'S DAY

What are you doing for Valentine’s Day? My hubby usually buys me a sentimental card, and a dozen FIRE and ICE roses. I always give him, truffles. I derive a great deal of pleasure from this annual ritual. Last year, though, as per my request, I got a big RED heart of Russell Stover Chocolates minus the flowers. This was because I was craving chocolate, back then. Usually not an issue for me, because I hate the stuff. Especially the dark chocolate. I really do. Still, the heart of goodies, he gave me... did the trick, quenching my spontaneous desire for it, at the time. But when the big HEART day came and went, and I didn’t have any roses, to show for it, I felt just terrible. I love roses in the dead of winter. All those chocolate endorphins didn’t help me deal with the deep regret I felt, for opting out of the flowers. Leave it to me... to ruin my own good mood. After sulking about it, for a day or two, and insisting my husband still not buy me any, I decided to take the matter into my own hands. To cheer my somber mood... I went out and bought myself, the roses. My favorite kind were nowhere to be found, so I settled for salmon colored ones, instead. They were gorgeous. It instantly lifted my spirits. I thought my husband would pitch a hissy fit, that I did it, after telling him not to. But he just smiled, when he saw them and said I shouldn’t have stopped him from buying them, to begin with. So... this year, he can get me the roses. But I’ve got something else up my sleeve. I have another special request. Instead of going out to dinner... like we usually do... I want to steam a couple lobsters, here at home. I already bought the champagne to go with them. Since there’s only one place in town that sells LIVE LOBSTERS and since you need to buy them, no more than a couple hours before they're cooked… I’m probably setting myself up for another BIG disappointment, if they SELL OUT, before we can nab a pair, to help us celebrate Valentine‘s Day. But that’s the plan, and we’re sticking to it. So... keep your fingers crossed, we score the crustaceans.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP

In my youth, there was something wonderful about snowstorms. They came with no responsibility. Bundling up to go outside was always an ordeal. But it was worth it. A winter wonderland awaited my brother and I. Once out there, gathering a huge bowl of newly fallen snow was a top priority, so my mother could make a mouthwatering batch of her snow ice cream, for later in the day. What fun we had building a giant snowman in the front yard, using my father’s old scarf and hat to complete the look. Life was good. We didn’t have a care in the world. As I aged, and eventually got married, my husband, replaced my brother as my outdoor playmate. The two of us would embrace the snowy weather, walking around the frozen lake near our condo, standing on the dock watching the wind whip across the icy water. Giddy with excitement as the flakes flew, we would collapse on the ground, laughing, as we hastily made snow angels in the fresh powder. We were cold and wet, but winter was in the air and we were happy. Then, in the years that followed, something inside me changed. My love affair with the cold season ended. Why, I don’t know? I now have a love/hate relationship with the snow and ice. It’s beautiful to look at, yes… but, a pain in the rear to deal with. Shoveling the white stuff and trying to drive in it, is a real chore. So, when the weatherman says significant accumulations are in the forecast, I batten down the hatches, expecting the worst. Fresh batteries get put in the flashlights and camping lanterns. The pantry is stocked with non perishable food. Candles and oil lamps are put out and about. Extra blankets are readily available. And, there‘s an abundance of gasoline for the generator. That’s because, when an ice storm hit my region six years ago, we lost power for TWO solid WEEKS. I was all alone here in the house. My husband was out of town, miles away. And I was totally unprepared and frightened, as trees and limbs crashed all around me. My yard looked like a war zone. I had no heat. Nobody offered to help me. I vowed to myself, NEVER again. I would be READY next time a storm hit. And, to this day, I am. Of course, while I’m waiting for the worst… a cup of hot chai, and a good book, help me pass the time. So, as a result... I survived the MONSTER STORM, we just had. But I tell you… I needed a blowtorch to get my car out of all the ICE it was buried in.