Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Packed and waiting

Since my knapsack which holds all the essentials and more for a two week jaunt in Tampa is packed and sitting in the closet, and although our departure is a few days away, the remaining items on my 'to-do list' (along with the final domestic chores) only list check in online 24 hrs pre-flight and add the phone and charger so….as you can see, I'm enjoying some warm sun in the shelter of the veranda - yeah for the lexan panels on the screens. The breeze today was cool when I walked to the mailbox but the view is beautiful with all the waterfowl celebrating the end of duck hunting season. So lucky to live in such a beautiful location. The kitties have joined me for a fly hunting safari so all is good. 

The usual flurry of pre-vacation activity has included appointments for spa and (for the first time in six months) a haircut! Well, it was actually just a trim to even out the length and a consultation on 'products' due to the fact that my new 'chemo hair' has come in salt & pepper, fairly soft and…wait for it….curly! Always wanted curls and my mother used to assure me that I was born into the wrong family for those. Kind of a tough way to get curls and they are likely only transient as within six months to a year the hair will change again, but in the meantime I am 'enjoying' them. Everyone (myself included) has been amazed at how quickly my hair regrew. Lest I bore you with the details I'll summarize by saying that chemo dries out your scalp and hair so coconut oil before shampooing with replenishing stampoo/conditioner followed by moroccan oil is the new routine and the gel/spray for curls makes me look less like Don King (you remember the wrestling promoter with the wild hair) and more like I've got a new hairstyle which I'm learning to manage. The wig wasn't a big deal, but it's nice to be able to leave it on the shelf. 

The new year brought a couple of follow up appointments with an ultrasound and urologist consultation. All is well with the ureter stricture and she will continue to follow me with another ultrasound in May and appointment in June. We had one of those 'small world' chats when I mentioned heading back to work in the Beaufort Delta in the spring where she mentioned a summer spent in Yellowknife as a medical student and a trip to Inuvik with an internist who I have dealt with working north. When I disclosed I wasn't 'ready to give up on work yet although not sure if I'll just try it once' she offered encouragement and stated "just make the decision one rotation at a time" which is of course excellent advice. Tough to do when the rest of the world, especially employers, require advance planning but it does remove the pressure. 

There has been a bit of future planning in this household lately with the sale of the business and resultant investment planning. The financial planner salesman who is our age and a nice young lad advising on estate planning met with the life partner and I. Of course the adage that 'cancer changes you' is true and as I watched the three men discussing longevity, planning to age 80 and long term investments, I thought….how very smug of you three to assume that 20 years from now is an expected gift. As a nurse there has always been an understanding of the fragility of life and even quality of life and of course 2016 has reinforced that for me. The most pertinent question for me related to health insurance as in…could I continue the group coverage after leaving work? The answer being….group coverage is possible only if drawing a pension (which I don't qualify for) and of course private health coverage requires health history disclosure, meaning with my recent shenanigans that I would be either denied, or have pre-existing clauses for exclusion of treatment related to my various issues, and likely exorbitant rates. Another reason to remain employed until sorted out a bit. 

We had a nice visit with the daughter and granddaughter who came to stay from one city trip to the next (one of the perks of maternity leave) as is NOT being involved with a nasty labour dispute her fellow teachers are this year. The baby is growing fast, very smiley, sleeps through the night, learning to roll over and babbling great stories. Looking forward to spending time with her on vacation. 

Enjoyed an evening out with a group of ladies for 'paint night'. If you're not familiar with the activity it's where art supplies and instruction are provided along with adult beverages. The 
results are often mixed because of the combo. The evening was a birthday celebration for the oldest daughter's friend and lots of snacks and drinks were enjoyed. The young fellow tasked with instruction really didn't stand a chance and was lost to the crowd after the initial introductions. When my daughter asked if I'd learned anything from the evening, I replied "I didn't realize so many people were unable to make decisions or do crafts" as there was a great deal of angst from many participants about process, materials, and outcome. Although the model was of a winter scene, in keeping with our upcoming warmer climes travel a few modifications were made at our table. 

We had the grandson overnight on the weekend and he is great fun. We read books, played games, watched a movie and generally enjoyed ourselves. Since his Grawmp has bought a new toy - a Can Am Defender aka side by side - they went for a test drive in the driveway. He clamped on to the hand bar in front of him as he buckled up, which speaks to how he's used to being transported on off road vehicles, but as a grandmother this is not something you
dwell on. I took him for a spin up and down the driveway to try the new machine out and he called out my speed  as he is fond of doing "11 km, 12 km" as we went. We were discussing what we could use the machine for and I mentioned travelling to our camp on crown land which he quickly warmed up to. As we exited the cab he said "Nanak, next fall when Grawmp is old enough, you can drive us to camp and we'll go deer hunting, he'll be able to pull the archery bow back by then". Ah, the minds of six year olds. 

The youngest daughter and son-in-law are travelling in South America and after hiking Machu Picchu are presently in Bolivia encountering adventures of the non-Spanish speaking tourist variety as they go. They have been backpacking and staying in hostels so splurged for a $40 hotel room with balcony and were thrilled with the hot water and toilet paper that accompanied it. Their journey has provided a life lesson in how privileged we are. They will fly to Miami and drive across the everglades to Tampa arriving on the same day as we do for our family get together. 

The wedding planning for April is getting serious and the guest list is being organized. Lots of parcels arriving from Amazon - think solar lights to decorate with etc. The plan is to roast two pigs because "Cubans and Cape Islanders will talk about it if there isn't enough food" and hiring the $30 photographer "who's clearly taking advantage of a foreigner being married" and $1 bouquets of flowers which the groom is researching. Fun will be had. 

Have been crocheting a bit - making more caps for the homeless shelter, some dishcloths and a few ponytail hats on request. Couldn't convince myself to drive into town for the knitting group (am sure they don't discriminate) holding their session at the local library - one of these Tuesdays I'll make it. Plans tomorrow for a visit to a not too distant yarn shop, a walk and perhaps even some lunch. We shall see, gotta pace myself before the funcation.