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Pre-holiday prep

I took today off to get stuff done:

That was supposed to be a cherry branch with some cherries and leaves on it decorating the pie, but it didn’t come out very well.  Oh, well, it’s just gonna get eaten.  These are all pie tins I inherited from my mother - I can remember Mom baking little pumpkin pies with these mini pans when I was a kid.

We may have a thing for cast iron skillets.

Two of those I got from my mother, who got them from her mother, along with the Dutch oven not pictured here.  One my wife and I got at a yard sale when we first moved in together.  One we got recently from a friend who was getting rid of stuff.  And the biggest one I got my wife as a Christmas present a few years ago.  But none of them compare to...


This one came from the same friend we got one of the smaller ones from.  She’d never used it, never even seasoned it.  We took it because, well, GIANT CAST IRON SKILLET!  It sat in our kitchen for a couple of weeks while we waffled about whether to keep it.  On the one hand, GIANT CAST IRON SKILLET, but on the other hand? GIANT CAST IRON SKILLET.  We had just about decided that it had to go when I suddenly thought to myself, would the turkey fit in there?

It did.  And we’d been talking about getting a replacement for our old turkey roaster, which was twenty-plus years old and starting to lose its non-stick coating.  So I untertook to season it, and we’re gonna try it as a roasting pan.  (Protip: seasoning a GIANT CAST IRON SKILLET is not for the faint of heart.  Use a lot of potholders.)

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The latest project

I seem to have picked up a touch of whatever it was that laid Kathy low last week. Friday I felt weird and queasy, and ended up barfing up dinner. Saturday was better, and today I felt mostly fine. And I got the message from my doctor that the mammogram I had last week was normal, so I guess all is well. Which is good, as I don't want to be sick for the holiday weekend. I took Wednesday off, and I want a long, uneventful weekend wherein we can cook a nice dinner, have Mom over, and I can work on my Seasonal Spuffy contribution. Whatever the heck THAT turns out to be.

Something happened to Mom's wheelchair in the Bus Incident -- not sure what, as it looks OK, but it had become hard to steer. Possibly one of the front wheels got bent a teeny bit out of alignment. It was still useable, but annoying to push. I had been intending to get her one that was more comfortable at some point anyway, so I did some research and ordered her a Karman Ergo-115. She likes it much better than the old one so far. It folds up easily and is lighter and more compact when folded than her old one -- fits in my trunk nicely. If I'd realized I'd be getting it so soon I wouldn't have gotten the transport wheelchair I picked up before the Bus Incident. I think I'll probably try and sell the transport on on Craigslist or something; I don't think we'll need it.

In other news, the friend of ours who took our old couch had this little filing cabinet she didn't want any longer, and I had been wanting one, so I volunteered to take it off her hands. I wanted to refinish it, since it wasn't in the best shape. (If you're reading this on Facebook, I'm afraid you'll have to click through to see the pictures. I haven't figured out how to make IFTTT post them to FB.) I didn't take an official before picture, so the photos here show the top stripped already. But you can see from the unstripped sides and front that the finish was fairly well shot. There are several places where corners have been chipped or broken off. It had also been sprayed by a cat at some point, so I wanted to be sure it was stripped clean before bringing it inside. Little Bit has been cured of her evil ways, knock wood, and I didn't want her to relapse.

Since it was made of pine, and had some significant dents, I decided that there was no point in trying to do any sort of fancy schmancy high gloss finish. Instead, I'd go for a rustic look. I knew that trying to take stain that dark out of the wood completely would be an exercise in futility, but I wanted to try to lighten it some, to bring out the grain of the wood.

I started by taking off the hardware, and stripping off the varnish with Jasco varnish remover, which also took up some of the dark stain. That left the color very patchy, so I evened it out with some cherry stain that I already had on hand. After letting it dry for a few hours, I gave it a couple of coats of Johnson paste wax and buffed it real good with an old cloth. This took up most of the excess stain as well as giving it a nice matte finish.

I put the drawer hardware back on, and I'm going to let it sit on the porch for a few days and then give it another coat or two of wax, and then I think it will be ready to bring inside. Assuming I can figure out where the heck I'm going to put it.


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Nom nom nom

So my wife's car is in the shop and I have to drive her to work AND she's working the late shift this week, so basically I get to get off work, walk the dog, and immediately go pick her up with no time to cook dinner. So we picked up some Mod Pizza on the way home and why have I never tried this place before? They have many toppings, and they're all the good, fresh stuff. They charge a flat price for each size of pizza regardless of how many or what kind of toppings you put on it. And it's the super-thin crust kind that I like best. I think we will be going back.

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A lot of boring things have happened!

Mom's out of rehab and back in her assisted living apartment, to the relief of all concerned. Saturday morning was taken up checking her out and getting her home and staying for lunch, and Saturday afternoon we had only a little time to run errands before getting back home so a friend could pick up our old couch and take it away. After that we went out to dinner, and then watched more Stranger Things. We only got up to episode six, which is a horrific cliffhanger -- they all are, but that one especially so.

I'd hoped to be very energetic on Sunday, and get a lot of cleaning done, but I went to bed with a headache Saturday night, and took some Tylenol PM for it, which knocked me right out. I didn't get up till well after nine, which is really late for me. Kathy was starting to come down with some kind of stomach bug Saturday, and was hors de combat all of Sunday. So the day consisted mostly of doing nothing, though we did get all the laundry taken care of. I did order a new wheelchair for Mom -- her old one has been wonky since the bus incident; I think the front wheels must have been bent a little, making it hard to steer. But that doesn't get the living room vacuumed. Sigh. Maybe next week. We absolutely have to clean up before Thanksgiving. Which we need to shop for, oy. Where did this year go?

I'm trying to decide what to do about Christmas stuff this year. Last year, I regretfully decided that I was going to have to cut way back on mailing cookies to people. The postage to send them is just getting prohibitively expensive. And everyone I know is trying to get rid of stuff rather than accumulate more, so presents are a difficult prospect too. We experimented with gift cards last year, but the problem with that was, when you exchange gift cards without setting a limit first, and the people involved turn out to have different ideas of what "not too expensive" is, you just end up with hurt feelings. And if you do set a limit, and just exchange cards of the exact same amount, you might as well both keep your money to yourselves to begin with. (Although I suppose you can change it up by giving gift cards to different places?) It is a puzzlement.

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Where the heck did this year go?

Kathy went all out on Halloween decorations this year:

Mom is doing pretty well. She's up and walking around for short distances, and she's not having any of the mental issues she had last time -- just her normal level of mild forgetfulness. Which means, of course, that she is adamant that she's completely fine, and wants to go home, NOW. She had a followup appointment with the orthopedic surgeon this morning, at which she claims that no doctor ever actually examined her, they just left her in a waiting room and then took her back to the rehab place. Since I wasn't there, I have no idea if that's an accurate account of the visit. I had the rehab place call the hospital and double check, and the hospital says she was seen by someone, but there were no details or anything, so... who knows. :/ It was just a routine followup in any case so I'm not too worried about it.

The rehab place will do their assessment on Tuesday, and I hope to heck that they say she can go home soon. I hate to see her unhappy, and want to her her home as soon as possible, but I also want to be sure it's medically safe for her to go back.

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Meanwhile, in Buffy fandom

Oh, by the way...I assume SOMEONE has posted about this on Dreamwidth/Livejournal, but in case they haven't, over in the BtVS comics, this happened:

Spoilers for Season 11Collapse )

There's been a party in the Spuffy tags for the last several days, lemme tell ya. And wailing and gnashing of teeth on certain boards.

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The Good Place

We had given this a try last year, and watched (I think) episodes three and four, and gone 'eh.' But since everyone was raving about it, we decided to give it another try. We watched the whole thing this afternoon/evening, and yeah, it's as good as everyone says. I'm stunned that it A) got made at all, and B) got a second season, but I'm glad it did.

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Modified yay

Mom does NOT need surgery. (Or at least, they feel the risks of more surgery are not worth the possible gains.) Instead, they're recommending a couple of weeks back in skilled nursing/rehab so she can get physical therapy while her hip heals. Which, as she so far seems to be managing her pain all right with tylenol, and I've gotten her other prescription meds straightened out, shouldn't be nearly the trial it was last time. Fingers crossed. The physical therapist at the hospital said there was even a small chance that she might be able to go right back to assisted living, depending upon how much she improves over the next couple of days. Not sure if she'd go back to the same place for rehab or not. For all my freaking out while she was there, they did a very good job. But we'll see what the insurance says.

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God damn it all to hell

Mom is in the hospital again. On Wednesday, she went on an outing to see a movie, and the driver of the bus didn't see a speed bump in time. She was strapped into her wheelchair, which was fastened down, but when the driver hit the brakes, she still slid forward in her seat enough to bang her knee on the seat ahead of her. Yesterday she thought that it was getting better, but this morning she called me and said she couldn't put any weight on her leg.

To make a long story short, the CT scan shows something about the greater trochanter being out of whack, and she will probably need more surgery, though we won't know for certain till the orthopedist looks at it tomorrow. The admitting doctor told me it would be much more minor surgery than the hip surgery, but that comforts me not at all; the thought of another three months like the ones this last summer... I just can't think about it. My brain keeps short circuiting. So I nodded and smiled and signed papers and assured Mom I would be back to see her first thing in the morning.

One day at a time, I guess.

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The Mystery Ailment, whatever it is, is still hanging on. It doesn't feel quite like a cold. Fatigue, intermittent very-low-grade fever, sore throat, miscellaneous aches, including a dull ache on the left side of my abdomen just under the ribs. Right where my spleen would be, if it were suspiciously enlarged. What this feels like, in fact, is the time I had infectious mononucleosis. Not nearly as bad as that (that was a high fever, a raging sore throat, and being so tired I could barely get out of bed) but very similar. I had always thought one could only get mono once, but according to the infallible wisdom of the internet, the Epstein-Barr virus can sometimes reactivate after years of dormancy. So I guess it's possible that it is a recurrence of mono. Or, apparently, there's a less common kind of virus that also causes mono, and one could in theory catch the second one after having caught the first one.

Or it could be an atypical cold. Regardless, if it doesn't get better by this weekend, I will make a doctor's appointment. Though if it is mono or something like it, all they'll do is tell me to rest and drink lots of fluids.

In the meantime, I'm popping some ibuprofen and going to bed early.

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