First of all, we spent the month of October in Kansas at our little house there in Little River. We went back to check on the farm and on the house. Prior to our arrival - sometime that month before - a terrible hail storm went though the area. Hutchinson, where we lived before moving to Alabama (30 miles south of LR), got it far worse than Little River - hail the size of grapefruits! Nevertheless, we got golf ball size hail, and it totaled the roof, punched holes in the siding on the north end of the house and battered the large awning over the deck on the back of the house to pieces. Thankfully the roof did not leak. While still in Alabama, we had contact with our insurance company and adjusters were sent - several times. So while we were in Kansas, we hoped to make contact with the roofing company and find a siding company as well. One man came from Great Bend and sounded quite enthused and willing to do the siding, but he just never got back with us on a bid. Meanwhile, we contacted another company who had many signs in yards all over town, and he gave us a bid on residing the whole house. Yowza!!! $$$$$ BUT he could side the whole house for about twice what it would cost to do one end which the insurance company was paying for. This would also involve "wrapping" the window frames - more $$$$. Anyway, we agreed to kind of do it in hitches - siding now, windows in the spring. Who knows when the roof will be replaced (which the insurance is going to cover). You have to have temperatures above 50 degrees to roof, so it may not get done until spring.
We also wanted to have the backyard fenced, so that we didn't have to take Annie out on a leash every time - that's a pain! We called one man, who said he was ill (and sounded like it), so he didn't show up at the appointed time. We ended up going with Lowe's. After making all the arrangements, we waited nearly a week for them to call us to come out and get started. I finally called, and they were waiting on us to come pay. Well, it would have been nice to know that! As it turned out, he came out to drive some stakes in the ground the day before we were leaving to come home.
Soooooo.....all that time there, talking with lots of contractors, and not a lick of work actually got done! Shortly after we got home, the fence contractor's office called to ask me to sign off on the fence job, and I told her I didn't even have any proof that it got done! I told her to have the contractor take pictures of the finished job and email them to me, and then I'd sign off on the job. Well, here we are a half a month later and no pictures. I finally called the next door neighbor there to ask her if they got our fence put up, and she said, "No, I just see some posts in the ground on the north side." I guess there is no real hurry since we are not there and won't be until next April. Hopefully when we go back then, we'll have a fenced in backyard, a new roof, and new siding (and awning).
Anyway, we had a great time - just pretty much doing nothing. Jeannine and the girls came back for a long weekend in the middle, and we certainly enjoyed spending time with them. The girls are in a new charter school where they are learning all kinds of crafts along with their regular school work. Here they are playing with clay.
They both learned to "finger knit" which I had never really heard of.
Jeannine said they are also learning to knit with needles they made out of sticks they sanded into round and pointed needles. Since they got into the school after the school year started, Sofia had not learned how to knit with needles, so Grandma gave her a lesson, and she caught on very well.
This was Sunday morning getting ready for church. The girls had on their shirts that I applique embroidered, and the matching skirts I had made. Aren't they so sweet?!?!
Jeannine brought her little rescue dog, Pippin. Boy was he a scrawny thing!! Bless his heart!
He was sleeping in Annie's bed here.
We also had to eat at Jeannine's favorite restaurant - Taco Hut. Gotta love those Sancho dinners!!
The weather was actually pretty nice the whole time there. It was in the upper 60s and low 70s. There were even a couple days where the wind didn't try to blow the hair off your head!
Oh, wait! I forgot! It did snow one of the days we were there!
It snowed enough that the girls made quite a snowman in the backyard. I didn't get a picture of it until the next day where it was warm again, and he was starting to melt. I thought he kind of looked like the Alabama elephant mascot by then. :) Roll Tide Roll!!!!!!!
We went to a Friday night high school football game. That was a trip! A trip back in time! I remember so well playing in the pep band - trying to keep my mouth piece warm on those cold nights. "Loyal and true, we pledge allegiance to you..." Yep, I remembered all the words to the fight song! And it was a cold night that night, too, with a major cold front that moved in. I sat there looking at all the young people who had familiar looks to their faces, but didn't know to whom they belonged. One lady sitting in front of us, Jackie, was a year ahead of me in school. I looked at her, and she looked just like her mother did back then. Her daughter sitting next to her looked like Jackie did back then. And the daughter's son was one of the football players. We skipped a whole generation! Here we were now the grandparents sitting in the stands, and I sat there wondering if I looked just like my mother did back then.....
One thing I really enjoyed while there was going to the day and evening quilt guilds I used to belong to when I lived in Hutchinson. I was a charter member on the Evening Star Quilt Guild, and there was only one other charter member still attending now - my quilt buddy from then - LaRue. I was able to talk with her on the phone and then visit at the meeting. It was great fun seeing some of the day guild members that I knew as well.
I also attended a quilt show in a little town nearby and sitting at the greeters' desk was a nurse I used to work with when I lived in Lyons and worked at the doctors' office. What a great reunion that was!! Here are some quilts from that show. This first one I liked because I have a wall hanging made from the red rose fabric.
This one was about the size of a sheet of paper. Done with that special twist-it ruler.
I like this one because it's Christmas, and it is a row quilt. I've always wanted to make a row quilt.
I liked the kaleidoscoping affect in the center of each block.
This one was a picture quilt, celebrating someone's anniversary I think. It reminded me of the one I made for Mom and Dad's 60th anniversary.
This little wall hanging had a lot of thread painting on it.
I had heard there was possibly a quilt shop in another little nearby town of Alden. I had never been to that town all the years we lived there. But I knew where it was and figured, how hard could it be to find a quilt shop in this tiny town?? Someone said it was across from the café. As I entered the town, I saw a sign to turn left to the café. It turned out that just about the only thing in town was this café and the quilt shop! The shop took up about 4 store fronts and that was just about the length of the downtown part of town! :) They were the friendliest people in there! They had fabric all over the place - from one room to the next to the next. I saw this one quilt in progress on a table, and just had to have that fabric and pattern! It was all about roosters. I thought that would look nice in the house in Little River. So I bought it and sewed it up before leaving to come home. I just have to quilt it now. The tan fabric has a chicken wire design.
Now we're back home and into our normal routine - pretty much. I didn't do any physical therapy while I was in Kansas, although I took a prescription for it with me. I did my exercises faithfully, and gradually, I went from 2 crutches to one, and then none. My foot is healing pretty well, although I still have some tenderness when I walk. BUT the big thing is my knee. That gives me the most trouble when walking.
Before going to Kansas, I went to a doctor for my knee, fully expecting him to tell me I needed a knee replacement, since another doctor had told me 4 years ago that I needed one. However, after looking at the x-rays, he said I did not meet the criteria for a total knee replacement. The inner part of my knee was bone-on-bone, but the outer part appeared to have adequate cartilage. He had me flex and straighten my knee, and then he said, "Most people who need a knee replacement can't straighten their leg out or bend it like you can." Well, the only reason I could do that was all the physical therapy I had been having getting ready for the knee surgery. Also, I had not tried the conservative treatment route first - NSAIDS, cortisone shot, and PT. So I left with the conservative treatment plan. After a month to 2 months on that plan, my knee is no better - maybe even a bit worse. So I returned to him after coming home from Kansas. I told him nothing worked, and I'm still in pain when walking. Was I a candidate for a partial knee replacement? After poking around on the outside of my knee as well as the inside and feeling pain everywhere, he said I wasn't a candidate for a partial knee. My whole knee was involved, so he asked me when I wanted to schedule the total knee replacement surgery. He didn't seem to bat an eye this time. At first I thought I'd wait until the week after Thanksgiving, but then changed to the week before. He told me Guy would HAVE to take a week off to be with me, so I figured it would be easier for him to take off the week of Thanksgiving than the week after. So the surgery is scheduled for Wednesday, the 20th. He will only have to take off Wednesday and Thursday of that week since he has Fridays off anyway.
I had forgotten that Mark had obtained tickets for Guy and I to the Alabama/Chattanooga game the 23rd. RATS! I was SO looking forward to going to that game. I've been wanting to go to an Alabama game for so long. Mark said he'd get more next year and that I should go on and get the surgery over with. I'm a little nervous about this surgery. I didn't really get nervous over the foot surgery, and there was no pain beyond the initial few days after surgery, because it was immobilized for 11 weeks. I know there is going to be pain with the knee, because you have to start moving it right away - and keep moving it. I know you have to work really hard in PT. I can do that - I did it with my foot. I just want it to all be over - and 6 months down the road!
I'll close for now and continue with the rest of the update perhaps tomorrow.