I had my Achilles tendon repaired on Tuesday, May 8t. It was a 1-hour surgery that put my already-tipsy world into a tailspin. The reason? You can’t put any weight on the affected foot for at least 8 days after the procedure. Hopping around on one leg with ataxia ain’t no laughing matter, although Greg and I manage to find humor in the fact that he must wait on me hand and foot (hark, a pun!) He has been a saint…
Sitting around, unable to do anything for myself, is not my forte. My entire world is now the living room couch, where I eat, sleep, watch tv, and type. When the dogs are napping during the day, that world gets mighty crowded, and I have to fight for my space on it! Sadly, this vantage point offers a limited view of the rest of the world, from which I can’t see my newly planted roses blooming, or check the lemons and limes on the citrus trees. In fact, the creature that most reminds me of my current state is this polar bear we saw at the zoo last Sunday:
Enough with the whining! Some exciting progress has been made to the mountain home (no thanks to me), courtesy of Dad’s unflagging determination to fix the uglies aaaaround here. His birthday party on August 11th is fast approaching, and he is determined that everything should be ship-shape for the occasion. In fact, he single-handedly took on the total repair of the exterior back of the house, and it is stunning.
When we first bought the house, the rear exterior wall of the garage was trashed. The cedar shingles were “hanging by a thread”, surrounding 2 huge (ugly), fixed picture windows that flanked water-damaged French doors. Under the picture window nearest the main house, the dual air-conditioners seemed poised for ”take off”, so badly tilted were they on their water-eroded foundations. The garden between the garage and the deck was overwhelmed by a giant hydrangea bush. All in all, not a good look.
After he and Greg removed the windows and framed the walls behind them, Dad pulled all the old cedar off and replaced it with Hardi board shingles, and then painted everything. Using 2×4’s, he devised a way to lift the air conditioning units enough so that concrete blocks (that he foraged on his walks through the hills!) could be slid under them to make them level. With the addition of river rock around the AC’s, what was once a very scary eye-sore is now a good looking part of the landscape! Quite a difference, right? (Now, we just need to hire the professional painter to eliminate the two-tone color palette on the remainder of the siding!)
Next, Dad tackled the back screened porch. Ironically, the first job the two of us attempted together, after buying the house, was the removal of industrial grade carpet that was glued onto the porch’s wood flooring. This carpet was evidently installed around a hot tub that was thankfully removed by the previous owners. It was so stained and bug-encrusted…in other words EEEWWW! So we tugged and pulled, and with help from a visiting workman, the old rug was history. But in its wake, it left thick blobs of dried glue that would have to be professionally sanded. Additionally, the gaps between the flooring planks were quite wide, so any old bug could, and did, invade our screened enclave. Our design solution to the flooring problem had to be inexpensive, durable, insect-impervious, and (of course!) great looking. We decided to nail ¼” thick sheets of finished plywood over the porch flooring, and then coat them with several good layers of marine varnish. Dad did the project pretty much single-handedly, and the final result is beautiful. The addition of baseboard trim was the finishing touch to the flooring project.
Dad also purchased 2 outdoor ceiling fans, which “Greg the electrician” is adding to the porch-scape, along with a DTV hook-up that will allow us to watch the Braves, the Summer Olympics, and UT football in style. Once I am up and around, the rocking chairs will sport new cushions, to coordinate with the mismatched iron patio furniture that Dad is covering with hammered black paint. All in all, it’s gonna look mighty fine! (Pics to follow….)
On an unrelated side note, this is Mother’s Day, so I must share a story that proves the apple never falls far from the tree. On our trip to the zoo with Jen, Jason, & Riley last Sunday, I sported my black, knee-high boot. Even with that on, walking from the car to sidewalk to wait for Greg to bring me a wheelchair, was excruciating. The combination of swollen foot and ataxia made for quite a public display, resulting in many kind people stopping to offer their assistance. Jen commented afterwards that even after my foot heals, I should still wear the boot, because my inability to walk with the ataxia annoys others (what is with this woman????), but the boot elicits sympathy. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I am already scoping out a more summer-friendly model (mid-calf height?) that I can wear out in public!