Friday, November 14, 2008

Catching Up - Misc. Stuff

I don't know where the time goes. I guess my puttering around just gets slower and slower. Sorry I have only had one post in nearly two months. I have written several -- in my head -- but they never made it to the Blog. Remember two posts ago I hired an Ex-Secret Service Agent to guard my lungs? Well now I know why he was an ex-agent. He was over zealous and wouldn't let me get into my own blog! Fortunately, he was called back to Washington after the election and I am now free to blog and ramble as before.

What happened in October? Much.

On the health front, I have been pretty stable again except my IGg levels mysteriously crashed lower than they have ever gone before -- into the lower 200's. So I was called in to have my IVIg infusion early. On the other hand, my platelets soared into the normal range. Very strange. (Last week's blood test, the platelets only came down to slightly under normal and my IGg held very well and I was able to delay this month's infusion until next week! My platelets have bounced around in the 90's and low 100's for a long time, so I don't know what they are doing. I do know that IVIg can raise platelets for some folks, so I guess that is what is happening now. Why it took almost a year, I don't know, but I will take it. White count and lymphocyte count slowly climbing, but that is normal with this disease. The good news is the absolute lymphocyte count isn't quite doubling in a six month period. If it was, that would be an indication for starting chemo again.

Much of October was taken up getting the house ready to have it appraised. We applied for a home equity loan and we were approved in a matter of a couple of hours, but then we had to have the house appraised to see how much they could loan us. In these tough times, it didn't appraise for as much as we would have liked, but the appraiser said he gave us the top amount he could because our house was in fantastic condition and we are the tops in our area.

Also in October, we participated in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Light the Night Walk. Our family team raised almost $3,000. This year we had a lady and her son walking with us. She is fairly newly diagnosed with CLL and I met her on-line. She is a member of both the cllforum and the cllcfriends site. She also lives very close to us! It was a great evening and I enjoyed getting to know her as we walked with our lit balloons.
Why did we have our home appraised? We would like to buy a small cottage or trailer on lakefront or lake access property in upstate NY so we can spend the summers there and be close to our extended families. Cheryl and I left there in 1967 when I joined the Air Force and we don't get back often enough to visit. We are all getting older and we want to reconnect while we still can.

My older brother, Jim and his wife, Barb, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a party on November 1st and Cheryl and I flew up and surprised them. Their kids put on a terrific tribute with an open house at the church on Saturday afternoon and a very nice dinner that night. We were so glad we could make it. My mom had just turned 94 the week before and my other brothers were all there. It was a great time.

It was a fast trip and we combined it with looking at several lake properties scattered from the edge of the Adirondack Park, to the Finger Lakes region, to the Norwich area, to the Whitney Point area. Cheryl's brother, Bill, lent us his car and we put a lot of miles running around the state in four days. We quickly discovered we have champagne taste but we are on a Kool-Aid budget. Nevertheless, we have three possibilities and we are currently waiting for estimates on repairs for our number one choice. (It needs foundation leveling.) My real number one choice was ruled out because the taxes are too high. $3200 in taxes for only three months a year use is way too much. (The price is about 1/3 or our current home, but the taxes are almost the same!) But the lake was by far the prettiest and it had a wonderful setting. Of course it also needed some fixing up. The corner of the cabin can be seen on the right in this picture. The lake was crystal clear and fairly deep off the end of the dock. It came furnished and included a boat. Sigh. Our new number one choice is a very pretty lot right on the lake, but the lake is shallow there and not that pretty as we would have to clear out lilly pads. This also comes mostly furnished. There is a shed out of the picture to the right. It is close to an acre of land. The second picture is looking out the larger window you can see in this first picture.Number two choice is a large double lot across the lake road from a prettier lake. It has an older trailer and has deeded access to the lake, right across the road. We would eventually bring in a newer trailer and use the older one as a "bunk house." However, we can't hook both up to the septic tank, so we would have to add a holding tank or something. You can see it is a large lot in front and goes another 100 feet behind it. Lots of mowing. Same car in both pictures. The deeded access is in the second picture by the tree stump.The third choice is a home/cabin that is in great shape, back at the shallow lake on a much smaller lot. Not much space between the cabin and the water. No work would have to be done to the structure, other than adding a dock, but the price is much too high (and above our budget) compared to surrounding places. We might put a lower offer in on that and see if it was accepted. If it is to be, it will be.

When we left Texas, the temperature was in the 80's. When we got to New York, we were greeted with snow on the ground. The first cabin we saw (the one I really would like) was down a long steep drive and we couldn't drive down because of the snow. We walked through the nine inches of snow, but Cheryl only had loafers with her. Her feet got very, very cold. At her sister's home where we stayed two nights, there had been a foot and a half of snow and a lot of it stayed the whole time we were there. When we returned to Texas, the temperature was 90 the next day. And that is why we love the winter down here!

Jimmy, our bi-polar grandson who lives with us during school, is doing great this year. He had a very rough Spring after a growth spurt and his medications got out of wack. He was suspended from school several times and we weren't sure we could do it again this year. This summer things got under control and we are quite proud of what he is doing and how hard he is trying -- not a single incident and he bends over backwards to do the right thing. He is 13, taller than I am, weighs about 190 pounds, has been shaving since he was 12, and is a fierce football player on offense. They lost the district championship game this week by one touchdown. He played so very hard the entire game.

Jonathan, turned 14 in October and Holly turned 11. It is hard to believe how quickly they are growing up. Cheryl and I attended both of their schools this past Tuesday, Veterans' Day, for special ceremonies they had honoring veterans. As Holly put it, I was invited because I am a "veterinarian" and I could wear my "costume" if I wanted! HA!
Our newest grandson, Gavin, turned five months last week. I have done quite a bit of babysitting for him and a little bit of traveling with them to babysit while his Mom conducts training. We have bonded. I will leave you with a couple of professional pictures she had taken. I think he may have a career as a model.


Anonymous said...

Your grandchildren are precious! Loved the picture of Gavin sitting--looking so grown up. Your lake house/cottage sounds wonderful! Maybe you could rent it out when you are not there to friends of friends. Happy Thanksgiving!

David E said...

Thanks for the updates (I read the next one as well) I've been to Rochester, NY quite a few time, very close to the Finger Lakes, very beautiful part of the country!
I can't believe you made Cheryl walk in nine inches of snow....

Glad the grand kids are doing well, great photos.