Saturday 24 February 2024

I did a thing

I drove D and Eli home last Friday and stayed through until Wednesday to help them settle in to a slightly different routine.  Eli must now take a dose of his anti seizure medication twice a day, 12 hours apart. He's very good about taking the meds, the issue is the timing, the first is due before breakfast and his ADHD meds. Depending on when he wakes in the morning this proved to be a challenge. Then his evening dose conflicted with his usual bedtime.  D did a bit of adjustment until things lined up better for both.

I spent some time hanging with my favorite (and only) grandson. He was happy to be home with access to his devices. LEGO, and nerf guns. I did a bit of housework, some reading, some knitting, much watching of the women's curling, and .... I bought a house!

D has been getting anxious about the limited number of properties available for sale in her community.  Anything that appeared well priced was moving quickly.  I wanted to wait until I returned from my cruise but she convinced me to just "go look" on Monday. Her friend Rob, a realtor from Regina, drove out from the city to do walk throughs with us and, as it turned out, to sell us a property.

The photo on Wednesday is the house we bought. The old saying, don't judge a book by its cover is apt in this case. The exterior of the house looks rough which belies what is held within. With just over 1280 square feet over a story and a half with a full basement, it is far and away a more spacious house than her current home. Since the idea is I will live part-time with them - about 6-8 months throughout the year, the space will be much appreciated.

We entered through the side door into a small porch with room for coats and boot storage.  This allows entry into the kitchen which I believe was updated about 20-25 years ago based on the maple cabinets, laminate countertops and a tile back splash. There are a good number of cabinets plus a dedicated pantry. Best of all, the window over the sink overlooks the back yard where a mom or grandma can watch a little boy play.

Exiting the kitchen to the front of the house are a decent sized dining room and a similarly sized living room with hardwood floors. The house was built in 1920, so I doubt these are original to the house - they are in too good of shape so I suspect they were added mid century. 

This photo is looking from the front living room through to the kitchen in the back. The two bedrooms are to the left - the door to what will be my/spare bedroom is visible.

The smaller one at the front we plan to use as a craft room.  Both it and the living room look out onto the front porch. The second larger bedroom has a small addition that includes two windows. This will be my room when I am there and a spare bedroom for company if I'm not. There is an older dresser in this room that I asked to be included in the sale. Based on appearance I think it's from the 50's or 60's and is very solid. There will be room for a double bed and side table as well as the dresser and an easy chair. The closet is a decent size too especially for an older house. 

Back in the kitchen there is a small hallway to the right providing access to the only bathroom (which was recently fully renovated), the stairs leading to the basement,  and the stairs to the second story. It's a half story because of the roof line but has decent headroom. Upstairs, there is an space at the top of the stairs which will be Eli's bedroom at least for now. It is open to the stairs and leads into the main bedroom.  Off the main bedroom is a large walk in closet with a built in vanity, shelving units and hanging storage. While there is no closet in the space for Eli, there is plenty for the two of them to share in this area.

The majority of the basement has been insulated and drywalled, but left unfinished. Marked in the concrete floor at the bottom of the stairs, it indicates the owners had a new basement floor poured in 2004 over the original. I suspect they intended to create a rental unit, but the new basement floor left a height of approximately 7 feet - too low for a suite. We're going to install carpet and it will make a perfect play space for a small boy, as well as providing much needed storage for his mom and grandma.

The laundry room is in an older area of the basement and houses a recently upgraded furnace and water heater. I plan to add some foam tiles in this area as the original floor is a bit pitted - it was not re-poured. There is lots of storage in this room too, with shelves and a cold storage area.

AND that's not all. The backyard is fenced, although one side is leaning and will need to be repaired. There is a single car garage that has been insulated - there is even a heater, but using an electric heater can be stupidly expensive so it will remain unused. In addition, beside the garage is a gravel area with room to park up to 3 more vehicles. The fence at the back separates these spaces from the back yard meaning less yard maintenance.  Inside the fence is a lovely shed, with room for all the tools and lawn mower.  Part of the shed has been converted to be used as a greenhouse.  You just know I'm itching to see how well that would work though I suspect it will be too late for this year. 

Though the yard is covered in snow, I'm told it has been nicely landscaped. There is a fire pit in the back yard too, and next to the side door stairs is a cement patio. It will be lovely space for a couple of chairs and a small table; on the east side it will be perfect for morning coffee/tea in the sun and will provide shade in the afternoon.  

But before you think this house is perfect, and it is pretty close, we do have a list of improvements and changes. There is no air conditioning so that is a priority for the summer. It needs a door on the interior of the front porch and the garage door needs replacing with an addition of a garage door opener. The front door for the porch is a must too - with only a screen door, the unheated porch isn't as secure as we'd like nor as functional in cool/cold weather. As mentioned,  the side fence need reair or replacement too. Then there is some painting and cosmetic changes that can wait for a bit.

The price was pretty terrific too - Rob the realtor did a double take when he looked at the listing. He even suggested he might retire to the community at some point. There is certainly value to be had in smaller, more rural communities, bu there are trade-offs, especially as it relates to health care. 

Possession date is early April, less than 3 weeks after I return from my holiday. I've spent the rest of this week confirming financing, getting quotes for home insurance, catching up on housework, and most importantly...prepping for my trip! I did get to Mahjong on Thursday as well.  

The Canadian Women's curling will continue into Sunday (two games today and two tomorrow). In between draws, I plan to sort out my clothing and other items for the cruise. It's getting ever closer - just 12 sleeps until I fly away. Hopefully the next 10 days or so will be much quieter than than the last.

Have a great week ahead everyone!

Thursday 15 February 2024


 Eli underwent the MRI on Thursday about mid-day. I went up to the hospital to spend a few hours and ended up taking them home with me. The doctor cleared him for release about 3:30 p.m. but by the time the paperwork was complete, it was after 5 p.m. D needed to stop at the dollar store for a few items and then we headed home.

Good news - the MRI was clear. The doctor said when a child has two or more seizures (in his case, two), the diagnosis is epilepsy. One of my readers, Red mentioned juvenile epilepsy in his comment and though the doctor didn't refer to it that way, I suspect this is what she meant. Eli has been prescribed a low dose of anti-seizure medication, to be increased over time. I'm hopeful that this will ensure he is seizure free.

You ought to have seen the bags of stuff he came home from the hospital with. There were the things that we brought with us, his blankets, I-Pad and a stuffie that the home hospital gave him. Then there were the things I purchased for him and his mom - clothing, snacks, and toiletries. We hadn't expected he would be in the hospital this long. D says she's going to pack a go bag when they get home. Should this ever happen again, she'll be prepared to stay for a few days.

The city hospital provided more toys, books, crayons and coloring book. Finally, one of Eli's teachers arrived Thursday morning with a bag of goodies, with more toys, books, and snacks! It took me two trips to take everything down to the car. 

I think I can safely say, both his mother and I are emotionally exhausted. Of course, it has been worse for her; it's been a long week and though I was able to spend time at home during the ordeal, she has been at the hospital advocating for her son.  I know she's looking forward to getting home to her own bed soon. On the other hand, Eli is quite happily ensconced on the couch watching television and eating watermelon.  

Thank you all for your words of encouragement and concern. I truly appreciate your support!

Tuesday 13 February 2024

What's next?

At the time of this writing, Eli and D are at the hospital here in Regina, as he was admitted on Sunday evening due to another seizure. Hopefully I'll be driving them home today (Tuesday), but that's still up in the air.

The rest of the story: I drove out Sunday morning arriving at the house about 10 a.m. Eli and I watched the first curling semi-final together, at least most of it, while he also played on his phone and his mother and I visited. When it was over I changed over to the laptop to watch the remainder of the second game so he could have the television again. Before the draw was over, we decided to head to the park and he had fun playing in the snow on the equipment. The temperature was just below freezing, but the sun felt warm as D and I hung out on a bench nearby. Back at the house we all had a bit of lunch, before going to separate spaces for some alone time.

Eli was watching television, D was playing on her phone, and I read upstairs. About 3 p.m. I was back downstairs watching curling on both my phone and laptop (both finals overlapped). Eli was jumping on his mini-trampoline and moving back and forth to the couch for much of the afternoon. Around 4:30'ish D went to the kitchen to continue the preparations for dinner, while Eli played his game and I continued to watch curling. 

This is all to say that the day was quite normal, there were interactions between the three of us throughout the day, and Eli didn't indicate he wasn't feeling well at all. That all changed when I looked over at Eli on the couch and noticed that his head had suddenly turned to the left, but his eyes were tilted upward to the right. I hollered at him, and D came running from the kitchen. He was sitting up but completely unresponsive even when she rubbed his sternum. 

We immediately rushed him to the hospital; I drove while D called to say we were on the way in. They were ready for him, and by the time I had parked the car and met them in the ER (just a minute or two) there was a doctor and three nurses in attendance. In quick order blood was drawn, his temperature taken, pulse and heart monitor applied, and an IV for fluids started. He remained mostly unresponsive for about 40-45 minutes but did react to the needles.

On the last visit, the seizure was suggested to be the result of Strep and a fever. However, this time he had no fever or (at least to this point) no infection. A chest x-ray also indicated no pneumonia. The doctor consulted with a neuro at the children's hospital in Saskatoon and it was decided he needed to be transferred to Regina for a CT scan. This is when the hurry up and wait happened. The pediatric unit in Regina was full so the transfer could not occur until a bed was available. 

I went back to D's house and gathered up some items: Eli's favorite blankets, their meds, some clothing, and so forth, fed and watered the cats and grabbed my own bag. When I got back to the hospital about 8, there was still no timeframe for when the transfer would happen. We decided I'd head back to Regina for the night, assuming he'd be released sometime on Monday and I'd drive them home. I figured I'd need the rest for the second day of driving.

As it happened, it was 11 p.m. before they were loaded into the ambulance and on their way. D sent me a message "Eli is awake, enjoying the ambulance ride (it's now the best day ever again)" At 2:27 a.m. there was another message - I was finally asleep at this point - that they'd had an opening to do the CT.  The EEG (electroencephalogram) was scheduled for the morning. 

I arrived shortly after 9 a.m., and they were just taking him down for the EEG then. It took about an hour and then I stayed with the two of them in the peds unit until 1:30 when I think D had had enough of me being there. We still didn't know at the point whether they would be discharged but as the day continued it became less and less likely. We did get some results from the CT that suggested there was something unusual and it was likely Eli will need to have an MRI. 

I spoke with her around 6:30 p.m. and she was starting to get Eli ready for bed. Once he was asleep one of the night nurses let her have a shower and took her clothing to be washed. Shortly after 2 a.m. the phlebotomist woke them as the blood work from the transferring hospital had come back with results they found confusing. D said he did really well through the procedure; I have to assume he was drowsy and I'm sure that helped.

This morning, he had some time in the playroom playing Wii, and was scheduled to have a bath. One of the resident docs was in to say the results from the EEG were not in yet, but she expected they'd be consulting with the neuro in Saskatoon later in the afternoon. Until that consult occurs, they'll remain at the hospital here. 


I'm home now with some not so good news and a little bit of good news. Eli's EEG did show signs of seizure activity. The two that we know of, he did not experience any shaking, however he has exhibited hand tremors occasionally. The doctor thinks it is possible these were minor seizures. The next time D sees it, she is to hold his hand tight - if it stops, it is a tremor, if it doesn't, it is a seizure. 

When I left the hospital the MRI was scheduled for Monday, and D and Eli would be released tomorrow and stay with us here in the city until then. They are starting him on the anti-seizure medication tonight and want to see how he reacts before he is released. Since I arrived home, there has been an update - they've cancelled an out-patient appointment and will do the MRI tomorrow morning. I expect that we'll stay here overnight, or possibly until Saturday and then I'll take them home.  I plan to stay with them for up to a week to allow D to get into a routine. 

We have some answers and not necessarily what we wanted to hear but there is a path ahead. 

Saturday 10 February 2024

Winter returns, curling, and travel plans

The poorly parked vehicle in Wednesday's photo was a Lincoln, parked by an (older than me) lady. To be fair, the parking lot was fairly empty, but the way she parked amused me. I did wait until she was in the store before taking the photo.

Winter was forecast to return midweek with 5-10 cm (2-4 inches of snow), so I did some grocery shopping on Monday and a Costco run on Tuesday. There is a fellow in British Columbia who runs a blog, "Costco West Fan Blog"who sends out e-mails on Tuesday of sale and other interesting items he finds at the various Costco's near his home. He provides information on the pricing history as well. Furnace filters were the big draw as a package of 3 filters was only $39.99. Since Walmart charges $24-26 for just one it's worth the drive out to the other side of the city. These aren't for my son and I, the furnace here takes a different size, but I picked them up for my daughter. Of course, that wasn't all I purchased there - my son likes ramen noodles so I picked up a case of those, a case of tomato paste, and a case of pasta along with a few other items that caught my eye. 

On the way back to the house, I stopped at the Salvation Army thrift store. The place was busy which isn't the norm. I found a nice skort (skirt/short combo), a small purse and a book - all for a whopping $11. I'll use all of these items on my March cruise. I do have a travel purse - it's quite unattractive but has locks and anti-cut straps. I'll continue to use it for my travel days and excursions, but it will be nice to have something prettier for on the ship. 

It started to snow on Wednesday morning, and I made the decision to stay home rather than head over to Stitch and Chat. With the fresh snow, I knew the roads would likely be slippery and besides the Manitoba and Alberta provincial men's curling were being streamed on You-Tube. I'm quite content to curl up on the couch and watch the curling.

The snow had ended by Thursday morning, so between draws, I went out and shovelled the driveway. In total I think we got about 6 cms. (2.3 inches). We were forecast to get a bit more during the day but that didn't come to be. Even so, I didn't venture out to Mahjong but spent the afternoon watching the curling and playing on Ancestry. I'm continuing to add information from the 1931 census and updating current information as I find it. 

Friday, I managed to get a fair amount of housework done between ends and games. Laundry, vacuuming, and using the Green Machine to do some carpet cleaning were accomplished. One of my laundry loads was my bedding - is there anything better than climbing into a freshly made bed? 

I also went outdoors to clear off my car as it had been on the driveway through the snow. We haven't been using the garage as the opener has been acting up and it hasn't been cold enough to worry about the cars sitting out in the open. The door can be opened manually, but I find it difficult as I'm too short to reach the cord while pulling up on the door.

I'm heading out to my daughter's on Sunday for an overnight visit, so I parked on the street until my son arrived home from work. Today, I'll need to load the car with flattened moving boxes, the furnace filters, and other items I've gathered for her. While the move won't happen anytime soon, I'm hoping she'll start packing away some things that aren't needed - decorative items, craft items, and the like. She's been busy watching the realtor site and worrying there won't be anything that will work for us. One of Eli's teachers is a former realtor and has assured her that spring is when most properties get listed. I'm not worried, as we're really not in any rush. It would be nice to have a space where the boxes I currently have stored in the garage (mostly photos/art work, craft items, and family memories) can be unpacked. The goal is to spend a few months with each of my adult children in between my travels. 

In fact, I may have some plans for this winter but until they are confirmed I'll keep them to myself. Let's just say, I'll be someplace warm(er). My cruise, however, is coming up quickly - less than four weeks to go. I'll probably start my preparations next week. I have a basket of items that can be packed, towel clips, a beach bag, magnets, laundry pods, dryer sheets and a few other items. Then I'll need to go through the clothing I plan to take and try things on - there's no point in taking something that no longer fits. I like to pack lightly, or at least as lightly as I can, so there is a bit of color coordination happening too. No point in taking a top that can only be worn once. Also, I have daytime clothing - mostly capris and tees and a few nicer pieces for evening, skirts or palazzo pants and some pretty tops. The ship will have a couple of formal nights, but I don't do formal though I do make an effort to look presentable. It is fun to watch those who do! I'm certain some people have an extra suitcase just for those nights.

Can you tell I'm getting a wee bit excited? I've joined the Cruisecritic group, as well as the Facebook group for this particular cruise. We've got several events planned, a sail-away meet-up on embarkation day, a solo meet-up for our first sea day, and a meet and greet with fellow passengers and crew members on the second sea day. All of these events are a great way to meet fellow cruisers, especially those we've interacted with on-line.

I'm off to watch more curling before I head out to load up the car for tomorrow's drive. Since my son is still sleeping, I'll watch the curling on my laptop in the basement so I can work on a jigsaw puzzle too.

Have a great week ahead everyone!

Saturday 3 February 2024

Wacky weather, carbohydrates, and something odd

Wednesday's photo were taken over the course of three days, Sunday through Tuesday. Our temperatures were well above freezing; the high on Tuesday was 12C (54F), a record breaking temperature for January 30th. It cooled off from there but was still lovely the rest of the week. However, the forecast for Sunday suggests we may see some snow - not much I don't expect. 

As I was sitting down to start this post, I realized it was a carbohydrate heavy week. On the weekend I'd baked homemade buns and cinnamon buns for lunches and snacks. Then Monday I made slow cooker beef stew. We can't have stew without biscuits. And to top that off, on Tuesday I baked a loaf of Italian cheese and herb bread to go along with our spaghetti and meat sauce dinner. Friday night was homemade pizza night, meaning more dough was made. I've learned to make small batches, so there were just 15 buns, 9 cinnamon buns, a dozen biscuits and one loaf of the Italian bread. There is one of each of the buns and the cinnamon buns, the heel of the loaf, and less than half of the pizza leftover. We do enjoy our carbs. :)

The bread recipe I found was for use in a bread machine, which I don't own. I modified it, using about four cups of flour, 1 1/2 cups of warm water, yeast, oil, sugar and salt for the dough. In addition, I added about 1/4 cup each of grated parmesan cheese and shredded Italian cheese and a teaspoon of an Italian spice blend. After allow it to rise for 90 minutes, I shaped it into a loaf, then let it sit for 45-60 minutes before baking it for 35 minutes in a 350F oven. It was delicious and my son and I used it for sandwiches through the week as well. One evening he made himself a grilled cheese and meat sandwich, dipping it in egg. I was already in bed, and could smell it from downstairs, and oh my, it smelled delicious. 

I had errands to run on Wednesday, for my daughter and myself, before I headed over to Stitch and Chat. There were three of us there that afternoon, and I got a bit of work done on my cross-stitching while we visited. One of the ladies is knitting a kitchen towel, while the other was knitting a bag to hold a small teddy bear. She's been using her stash to create little bears to donate to the Children's Hospital here in the province and has made eight so far. The little bears are adorable and I'm sure they will brighten up the day for the little ones who are being cared for at the hospital. She's hoping to finish a few more before she sends them off.

Thursday was Mahjonng and I had a very lucky day. I won three games! Several games ended in draws and the others at the table won a few as well. There is definitely strategy to playing the game, but often it's truly the luck of the draw. I do enjoy the game and the company of this group is terrific. 

My something odd is the sheer number of views my blog has been receiving lately. There are over 200 views on most of the posts. When I checked the stats nearly 65% are from Singapore. Since I know of no followers nor do I receive comments from anyone there, I presume this is some sort of server that sends readers here. I'm not sure what the interest in this blog would be and I'll likely limit the amount of personal information and photos I share, just in case this is an effort for something nefarious. 

There has been lots of curling to watch this week as well, and will continue through the weekend. Between the USA national championships, both men and women, and our own provincial men's Tankard event, I've enjoyed a number of the games. Some were blow-outs and others came down to the last rock in the final end. Tomorrow's semis and finals will be the best games of the week, I'm sure.

Have a great week ahead everyone!