All’s Well That Ends Exhausted…

Everyday Adventures

A much more honest version of that old saw, don’t you think?

Part I

I barely know where to start, but we’ll go with last Thursday morning, how’s that? Todd woke up with a backache. That, in and of itself is not incredibly newsworthy, it does happen occasionally, but you have to remember that’s Todd tolerance level (to alcohol, meds, pain, my ideas) is pretty damn high and his usual attitude is to get on with things regardless.

So the fact that he was vocalizing some pain issues should have tipped me off that this was not going to be standard operating procedure.

As I was going to lunch I got  a text from him…


He failed to mention the chest pain that morning. Master of understatement this one. I truly debated leaving right then and there. Some people would have, but I’m trying to curb some of my natural panic-mode inclinations, so I decided to abide by his wishes and stay put.

Sure. it was a bit alarming that they’d sent him to the ER, but it’s not uncommon for a beleaguered urgent care center to refer patients up a level to better be able to handle their case load. Meanwhile, I was a bit distracted at the office, watching for further updates to come through. After an hour of him being at the ER and nothing, I finally got this:

Screenshot_2017-01-26-13-26-22And then I left work…

Homeboy neglected to mention they transported him by ambulance. Do I need to even explain how crucial a piece of information that was?! King of the understatement.

That was the longest my commute ever felt.

I get to the ER (at least I knew where it was, this time), sign some paperwork, and finally I can go back to the triage rooms.

Had I not been pretty damn anxious by this point, I might have taken a picture of the scene I walked into, but I didn’t. Let me see if I can adequately paint this picture for you:

Empty medical bay, a gaping void where the hulking white bed once stood. To one side of the room a boot stands, toe pointed towards the wall. On the other side of the room its mate lays tossed hurriedly aside. A box of EKG leads sits on the table, discarded adhesive covers littering the workstation. A monitor beeps. A disembodied voice moans from elsewhere along the corridor.

In my state of just this side of panicked, the far flung boots were a silent reminder that very bad things happen in rooms like this. I paced until they wheeled him back into the room, fresh from the ultrasound that revealed a perfectly normal aorta (thank goodness!) and a gallstone that was situated right at the opening to the duct, causing the pain and discomfort.

Surgery is likely in the near future for Todd, but we’ve done this once before with me, back in 2008, so at least we know the drill about what to do and not do. We finally got out of there around 6:30 and had to stop by Urgent Care to get some things out of Todd’s car. He couldn’t drive it home because they’d given him some meds before discharge and even though it was less than 5 minutes away, no sense chancing a fluke accident and him being technically “under the influence.” He’d also had the meds on an otherwise empty stomach, so they might have had a chance of making him sleepy, if it weren’t for the ensuing burst of adrenaline when we got home…

Part II

We both noticed Duncan didn’t come out to greet us when we pulled into the backyard. This was odd because we were home a bit later than usual (say, 30-45 minutes after I’d normally get home) and he’s usually very excited to see us. We’re discussing this fact as we get ourselves and our stuff out of the car when the neighbor to our right comes out of his backdoor, asking for our attention.

He calls his son out to him and says he’s got to face the music. Simultaneously, Todd has noticed and called attention to the fact that the back gate is standing open.


The neighbor boy has been playing ball in his yard, a narrow strip behind the duplexes that runs along our property. The ball went into our (Duncan’s) fenced area and Mr. Slick decided that he could make it in and out without Duncan noticing.

Three guesses how that turned out.

Duncan barked. Boy fled. Boy left gate open. Boy denied it to Mom and Dad when they noticed it a little while later.

And when did this happen, you might be wondering? About 30 minutes before we got home.

So we rush inside, drop our gear, grab leashes, and head out to search, on foot, around the neighborhood. Each going separate directions. I walked down to the park and looped back up a block or two, Todd took the streets behind us. Not a sight or sound of Duncan was to be had.

Meanwhile, I’m still worried about how Todd’s doing, so when our paths crossed as we make intersecting loops, I suggested we pack it in for now so I could get him home and fed. We posted on NextDoor and had an uneasy supper in a way too silent home.

Duncan’s gotten out before, due to his own devious streak, and we’ve spent a bit of time and money ensuring he cannot escape the backyard at will. He’s even let himself back in on at least one occasion, so that if the neighbor on the left hadn’t ratted him out, we’d have been none the wiser about his solo adventures. But this was different. This was at night, this was due to the poor judgement of a stranger, and this time we didn’t find him right away.

To compound the problem, he’d recently pawed his tags off his collar (breaking the split ring they were on) and we’d tried one fix that didn’t last but hadn’t found another solution yet, so he’s wandering around without tags. Fabulous. And he’s microchipped, yes, but (for the non-pet owners out there) you have to register the microchip and pay a separate fee. The pwperwork to do that went AWOL pretty quickly, and Duncan tried to eat the backup tag so I couldn’t read the numbers. He’s due for a vet visit this month and the plan was to have them scan his chip so we could get the number and finally register this wayward son of ours.

Timing’s a bitch, ain’t it?

We decided to go out one more time, together in the car, and crawl our way through the little streets that surround us, going as far as Broad Street just in case. As we were running out of roads, about 3 blocks from home (in an area we’d already covered to no avail), we caught a flash of something in a wooded lot. Duncan was finally found.

It was a very happy reunion, and a short trip home to get him fed and snuggled. And for me to write our address and phone number directly on his collar. Why I didn’t think of that before I have no idea.

Of course, then I see that Duncan has worked said collar off and is chewing on the plastic clip latch thingy.

So off to Walmart the three of us go (we were taking no chances) to get him a new collar, a package of split rings to add the tags to, and a lock for the back gate (the front gate’s been locked for quite some time). He may have also received a new toy for being such a good boy riding in the cart, but you could hardly begrudge him the hedgehog that makes piggy noises.

Part III

After the double shot of stress on Thursday, Friday found us in zombie mode so I took advantage of an unencumbered Saturday morning to sleep in ’til noon, then work on projects for the afternoon and evening. All this to say it was no surprise that I was still awake just shy of 3am when the first Tornado Warning lit up my phone.

I went upstairs to wake Todd and Duncan and bring them down to (relative) safety. Our house has no true safe spot for riding out a tornado threat–all rooms are exterior rooms, even the hallways have windows courtesy of the doors at either end, the closest we can get, if it really gets dangerous, is the closet under stairs among the Halloween decorations and my wedding dress.

Instead, we fell asleep on the sofa, all three of us, while the local news kept continuous coverage of the storms flowing around and through our town. We woke up sometime after 4, when the first wave of warnings had expired, and went up to bed for a few more hours.

Sunday was spent watching the news reports and being vary wary of the weather. Mid-afternoon we got a lull in the weather, a gap large enough between storm bands to be able to go grocery shopping. We lost power briefly a couple of times, but figured we were out of the woods when the last warning expired with only a wind advisory remaining.

Naturally that’s when we lost power for an hour or so.

Par for the course.

We were lucky, in all three instances. I’m ever so grateful for that fact, for our family being intact as well as our home. I just wish the reminders of our good fortune didn’t come all at once and with so much for potential for bad.

A Relaxed Thanksgiving, Todd Plays the Hero, and Cyber Monday Shopping

Everyday Adventures

A Relaxed Thanksgiving

Did you have a good Thanksgiving?

I’d been making one or two things a night all week and on Wednesday night set up the slow cooker with chicken leg quarters and vegetables so that, Thursday morning, we woke up to the heavenly scent of homemade chicken broth filling the downstairs. I’m only sad I didn’t think to do this before.

Since we didn’t have anything too pressing at the moment, I was able to kick back and watch the Macy’s parade and the National Dog Show while I polished the silver and did a few small tasks from the couch. (The one down side to a closed-plan house is that you can’t see the living room tv from the kitchen, especially when they’re a couple of rooms and a hallway away. Maybe we’ll install one of those little under-cabinet units when we redo the kitchen some time in the future then I’ll feel really fancy, hah!)

The turkey didn’t have to go in until 2:30 for our 6pm dinner (thanks to the speedy nature of our tabletop roaster oven which, once again, served us in good stead) and then it was short work putting together the casseroles to wait for their time in the oven. The only thing I was still working on when my family arrived was the pumpkin brownie trifle for dessert.

We usually watch a movie after dinner, allowing everyone time to digest before digging into dessert, but this time we landed on a marathon of Who’s Line is it Anyway? and laughed our butts off between that and Molly the French Bulldog’s antics.

I think it was one of our better holidays, and definitely our best turkey to date!

Todd: Not Just My Hero Anymore

Ah, neighbors. Unless you live on serious acreage you’ve got them and you just have to learn to live with them, or at least near them. We’ve gotten used to the neighbors on our west side, the personal care home, bringing an ambulance, firetruck, and police cruiser or five to the end of our block on a regular basis as well as the frequent caterwauling of one of the residents–I don’t know her story, but I do know she seems to shout everything, to anyone or no one at all, while wandering their back yard or between the small cottage she shares with her father and the main house.

On the other side, to the east of us, are two sets of duplexes that officially belong to the cross-street, and are more or less separated by trees and a partial fence. There are young kids in these duplexes and, thanks to the thin (read as: un-insulated) exterior walls, it frequently sounds like they’re right under my office windows when they’re outside playing. Aside from the occasional check to make sure they’re not flailing makeshift weapons around our cars, I just think of the day when we’ll get our privacy fence up on both sides and the noise barrier that’ll bring.

All of that to say, I didn’t think too much of it when I heard crying outside on Sunday afternoon. I figured it was the lady next door and briefly peeked out the kitchen window to confirm. Only I didn’t see her, and the noise wasn’t so loud in the kitchen as it was in my office. That was kind of odd.

My next thought, as I stood in the back doorway, was that one of the kids on the other side of the yard was crying out his or her displeasure at being disciplined. Not pleasant, but also something you kinda feel awkward intruding upon, if that’s the case. Or is that just me?

But then I heard the very definite cry of “Help me, please!”

Turned out that one of the boys next door had been climbing in the tangle of trees that divide our properties and had gotten his knee wedged between two of the trunks and was undeniably stuck. I couldn’t easily get to him but got his parents from inside (the kids had been called in and none of them mentioned their sibling was stuck in a tree!) and then went back to our house to get Todd (and his saw). He had to saw through a good bit of one of the trees (they’re not super thick, thankfully, but pretty sturdy) before they could pry the two apart enough for the boy to remove his knee.

If Todd hadn’t been home I think we would have had to call the fire department.

It’s Shopping Time!

I’ve decided that I’m going to do my level best to make the presents to my family this year (both due to budget and the simple desire to), even though I’ve decided this a bit late in the game (it helps that we’re a small group for Christmas or any other holiday). Still, I’d be a poor excuse for a maker if I didn’t let you guys know what’s available from my own shops this holiday, just in case they fit someone on your Christmas list!

First, there’s the CyberWeek sale over at The Crafty Branch

CyberWeek Sale

Our first four Creative Mischief kit releases are all available: Portable Plein Air, both Holiday card kits (which work great for scrapbook layouts, gift tags, and more if you miss the card-sending window), and our new Bound & Determined bookbinding kit. Kits range from $40-$50 plus shipping, but you’ll get 10% off through this Sunday and free shipping if you order 2 or more kits (which saves you about $9 each, at current rates).

For the girl who’s got everything, may I suggest a Character Cocktail? What’s a Character Cocktail you ask? Only a custom-designed, personality-based cocktail presented as a ready-to-frame piece of original art.


This close to the holidays I’d suggest getting a gift certificate for that hard to shop-for girl or guy on your list (we have pretty ones available for you to place in a stocking, just note that you want the gift certificate in the PayPal checkout), since they usually take 2-3 weeks to create.

Finally, for the foodie, gamer, or comic book lover on your list, What to Feed Your Raiding Party is a perfect gift.


Whether you’ve got a cousin who’s moving into their own place and will have to fend for themselves for the first time or your dear Aunt Agnes collects unique cookbooks, this book works either way! We’ll even gift wrap it and tag it at no extra charge. And don’t worry if they’re not a gamer–not only do the recipes stand up just fine on their own, the comics that open each of the five chapter are parodies of popular movies, so anyone can enjoy them!

So, dear readers, what’s your holiday plan: make, buy, or buy handmade?

Calamity Todd and the Wasted Weeks

Everyday Adventures

Well, okay, not exactly wasted, but not nearly as productive compared to our usual weeks and weekends.

So! If you follow me on Facebook you may have seen that Todd, bless his heart, was up on a ladder on Sunday, May 3, and took a bit of tumble. Yeah, that’s what we’ll say. We are incredibly thankful that all he broke was his right wrist and nothing more. That we were able to find the local hospital for the first time under duress, and that the service at Archbold Memorial is amazing.

And with that said, let’s get the grumpy stuff said and out of the way.

  • He didn’t just “break” his wrist, he shattered it. The radius bone looked like gravel at the business end and the ulna had a single break parallel to the bone.
  • We avoided emergency surgery that night. Good thing since it took 2 1/2 hours, 2 plates, and 15ish screws to reassemble the radius. The ulna fell into place perfectly, so the doctor opted to leave it to heal on its own.
  • At the follow-up appointment the next week, the ulna had shifted–whether due to swelling or just general instability we don’t know–and it meant another 2 hour surgery within a week of the first. Another plate and handful of screws.
  • Oh, right, and Todd’s insurance doesn’t go into affect until June 1.

That last bit is the most cranky-making thing about this, to be honest. A couple of days after each surgery Todd was feeling almost normal (despite not being able to use his dominant hand for close to anything) and champing at the bit to get out of the house and, yes, even back to work. So far we’ve received a couple of the bills and we’re already around $11K for the ER visit and 2 outpatient surgeries. Not sure if that’s everything, yet, since none of the bills have been detailed. Now, Archbold does have a financial assistance department and we’ve put in for whatever help that might offer, be it a reduced fee and/or a payment plan. We’ll get through it because that’s just what we have to do, but it’s still no fun.

And a taller ladder and/or a roof harness would have been a helluva lot cheaper, but hindsight is always 20/20.

Other, smaller things have changed around the house this month to accommodate this bump in the wrist/road. Like me being on full KP duty all month, that’s been a change. If you’re new around here, Todd and I usually trade off dinner duty by weeks–we both like to cook but we both enjoy our weeks “off,” too, as a chance to get more done in the evenings on our own projects. I’ve also had to take over clean-up tasks and, ever since we moved in together (6 years ago), Todd has done the dishes. Not just on the weeks I cook, but pretty much always. He spoils me by taking over the dishes each night and I appreciate it (and frequently tell him so). So it’s been a real change to have to do the cooking and the cleaning for a full month (and maybe even a few weeks longer, we shall see).

The first couple of weeks are a bit of a blur. That first week I almost missed as much work as I was there for between appointments, picking up prescriptions, and the surgery day. Then I missed the second half of the second week for more of the same. But just because I was home doesn’t mean I got much done besides meals (most nights–a couple take-out nights were called in the early days) and watching the clock for his next does of meds. Beyond that was just this brain fog and everything that wasn’t absolutely mandatory (like blogging) got pushed until later. Whenever later turned out to be.

But I’ve learned some things in this process, too. Namely that I’m better in a crisis than my random moments of anxiety would have me believe and that I know what’s really important: family. Todd is my family and I would (and did–the SBA loan packet delivery was delayed 2 weeks and ask me how much I care*) drop everything to make sure he’s taken care of. And I know he’d do the same for me.

Probably the funniest thing about this is that while I’m the klutzy one, the accident magnet, all my misteps are small. Even my own trip to the ER many years ago (where, in contrast to our 3 hours total at Archbold, I spent 6 hours overnight before actually seeing a doctor) only yielded 4 stitches. But when Todd does something, he does it all the way!

Things are getting back to normal-ish around here. Todd mowed the backyard on Sunday (I taped up the openings of his cast to keep grass clippings from getting in and pulled the starter cord for him) and we had friends up for a small cookout on Memorial Day. He’s heading to the doctor today and the jury is still out if he’ll come home with another cast or if they’ll move him to a brace he can take of to shower and do light movements with. We shall see.

*okay, yes, I do care, but it’s a matter of perspective; if the bank thinks less of me as an applicant because I put my husband’s health first, well, too bad!

In Celebration of Birthdays

Everyday Adventures

I love birthdays–I always have and, hopefully, always will. Some birthdays pass more quietly than others, but they are still celebrated in some way, shape, or form. And while I know not everyone enjoys their birthdays, especially as the number of candles reaches conflagration-status, I like what Mom often says:

It’s better than the alternative!

Gallows humor, sure, but she has a point.

Todd, whose birthday it is today, is one of the non-celebrants. He doesn’t mind celebrating other people’s birthdays, but prefers not to make a fuss over his own. So I will likely never throw him a surprise party, and only occasionally suggest we have a small get-together (usually a game night) on his birthday if it works out that way. Nothing big.

But he knows that I will always celebrate his birthday because I am incredibly grateful that he was born all those years ago. I will always get him a little something (usually something fun, since birthdays are not a time for practical gifts) and ask him what he’d like special for dinner (be it my cooking or going out–this year he chose going out with dessert at home). I will always get him multiple cards (at least 1 silly and 1 serious) and usually sing him Happy Birthday when we get up on his birthday morning.

Because he is the most important person in my life, and I think he’s worth celebrating. And he accepts my position on the matter.

In deference to his not wanting to make a fuss, I won’t post the umpteen reasons why I’m glad he was born, or the other umpteen reasons why I’m head-over-heels in love with him, suffice it to say I could and leave it at that.

Instead, I’ll just close with a heartfelt Happy Birthday, Honey!