Posted in Uncategorized

Summer Firsts For My ‘Year Of Firsts’

The Year of Firsts continues as I make a concentrated effort to try new things. Some of the summer’s firsts did involve me directly. Some were occasions of me having to let go for the first time in new ways.
For the first time, we allowed our youngest to go to camp. He attended an out-of-state Youth For Christ Camp for a whole week. A whole week. I let my baby get on a bus and go with non-family members for a whole week. You may have gathered that it was not easy. It wasn’t. It was a whole week.

But, he did well. In fact, due to it being a technology-free week, I wasn’t able to hear from him. He zip-lined, went tubing and swam. For a whole week. The husband took a vacation week during this time. He was home. For a whole week.

We had a catastrophic event when Buster got hurt. For the first time, I had to confront the fact that Buster is mortal and we may lose him. We went to an emergency vet for the first time and I found myself thrown back 14 years as he had to be cared for as if he was a human newborn.

However, two weeks later, I fulfilled a ‘bucket list’ item when we took Buster on the boat. He did a fantastic job and I adored every, taxing minute of it!

Speaking of boating, I got to go night fishing for the first time. There’s something eerie yet pleasant about being in a boat, in the middle of a lake, at night with no one around. Sounds are amplified. Where you swore there were no fish, fish splashed. We saw an otter and a snapping turtle which aren’t frequently noticed during the day. The sunset was beyond words. The glistening water was indescribable. It wasn’t even about fishing for me. It was so darn peaceful. Local rules say that boats must be out of the water by 10:30. We docked tn minutes prior. It was fantastic & I’d do it again.

In a vanity related first, I’ve had black hair for the last 20+ years. For the first time, ever, I have let it go au natural. It is 3/4 of the way gray now. I’ve been thinking about changing hair color though my husband had always been against it. When he brought it up, I thought, why not? So I consulted a cosmetologist, friend of mine who advised me to let it go gray before changing up. That is what I’m doing.

When it’s suitable to change, I will decided which color route to explore. But, this was a big first for me. I didn’t think I had the courage to go all out gray. I never even go to the Dollar Store without make-up. I never thought of myself as vain until I realized I didn’t want to look old. However, it’s been liberating!

As fall approaches, we’re preparing to enter 9th grade here at home. We have a high school student again. But, for this child, it’s his first time. Wish us luck!

Posted in Pets

Buster On the Water

Hard to believe, that this little swimmer was near death two weeks ago! In true pit bull style, he doesn’t let much stop him. After getting his stitches removed Friday night, he had a relaxing weekend of much spoiling. Unexpectedly, my husband took Monday off so we could spend a family day on the boat.

It was Buster’s first time. We had no idea how he’d do and were prepared to take him home if necessary. With the eclipse approaching in the afternoon, we opted to go out around 9 AM. Only 3 other people ventured out in their kayaks. To our surprise, Buster not only quickly acclimated to the new, huge environment, but he jumped into the boat with no prompting! Taking his place next to Dad, he rode in the front almost the whole way. When we chose a spot a good distance from shore and the menfolk began fishing. I usually do, too, but was more focused on Bus.
Surprisingly, within a few minutes of sniffing and running from the front to back, Buster looked at me, then dove straight in. We weren’t too worried as he was fully equipped with a doggy life jacket. What did surprise us, though, was how fast he is! I thought he was extreme with land under him. Holy Cow! Within a few minutes, he was just a visible dot on the horizon.
We turned the boat, but it wasn’t necessary. Instinct kicked in and the little bugger swam just as quickly back to his family. I was a proud Momma. Admittedly, I got too excited about his new skill. My husband had to tell me to relax a few times. I just wanted to see him swim more.
Our son had been frantic over whether or not Buster would swim well. His fears are gone after watching those long, whippet legs working in the water!
We always catch and release fish but Buster at least got to see his first Blue Gill and give it what I’d call a kiss before it was freed. Honestly, I was afraid he’d bite it, but he had no interest in it. However, he was quick to acknowledge the kayakers and tried to swim to them once. They were to far away, but he definitely tried. Another quick jump into the water occurred when a bird flew a little too close to the boat. Instinctively, he jumped to greet it and a splash was the result. The bird escaped unscathed.
Our day out was cut short when an impromptu storm blew in. While brief, we were very concerned about lightning. Being in the middle of a lake during a storm isn’t fun. Halfway to the dock, the rain hit- hard. But, we made it back. I definitely had a hard time restraining Buster while we put the boat back on the trailer. I don’t think he wanted to leave.
After arriving back home, he was noticeably exhausted, but sported a wide doggy smile all day. I’m proud of him. His overzealous nature took a back seat to exploring and having his family love on him. I was grateful for the life jacket and that we’d packed extra bottled water with a plastic bowl for him. He worked up a thirst even with an endless supply of water! Although it was exhausting, I’d take him again in a heartbeat. Knowing we came dangerously close to losing him, I cherish everyday I have him in my life.

Posted in Home, Parkinson's Disease, Pets

May’s Firsts in My Year of Firsts

May brought another month of opportunity to try new things. While they aren’t big things whatsoever, they were firsts for me.
A weeknight with no dinner plan presented an opportunity. I searched for a recipe we hadn’t used and decided to make homemade sloppy joe’s. Usually, I’d go with Manwich from the can. But, since I had the ingredients, I went for it. While it didn’t turn out great, it wasn’t awful either. Manwich is still a better option, though. I was missing that vinegar type taste and the off brand ketchup didn’t help matters.

Two firsts involved Buster. Usually my husband & son are in charge of giving Buster a bath. He can be quite a handful and I just honestly assumed it would be too much for me. But, he’d been extra itchy lately & the hubs has been super busy. So, I geared myself up with some grubby clothes and went for it. My youngest son did help by lifting Buster into the tub. That was just a physical impossibility on my own.

However, once the heavy-lifting was done, I was on my own. Surprisingly, I did a great job. I also proved a little something to myself by tackling a project I deemed too hard. But, the second Buster activity did require a partner in crime, per se.

We’ve had awful luck with vets. In fact, they’ve been so off the charts expense that we’ve utilized a local clinic for shots & routine things. But, an acquaintance of my husband’s suggested his dogs’ vet so we went. Many things concerned me. There would most definitely be other animals there. Buster does not play well with others. Plus, any new situation causes him to regress into an animal without any brain. Bottom line: he’s a bit nutty. But, I was armed with my super strong husband, a new harness and some willpower.

We had it well planned out. My husband went in first, Buster-less. With the new harness, a one better suited to my stupid Parkinson’s hands (grr), I hooked up the leash & walked Buster to the grassy area. I love this harness. It’s a God send. We’d outfitted him into it before we loaded him into the truck. Surprisingly, Buster seemed to be really enjoying himself. He wasn’t being choked by the harness because it’s really comfy. He even felt comfortable enough to plop down in the grass & watch the cars drive by.

Inside the vet’s, he was pretty good, too. I warned another Dog Mommy over my shoulder that he was dog aggressive so she’d hang on tight to her beautiful Boxer pup. Regardless, Buster waltzed right by him with barely a bark! He was perfect during the blood work and even fell for Dad’s distraction techniques. Both the ride to & from were generally drama free. I declared the whole day to be miraculous. Long story short, I proved something to myself & Buster did too. We aren’t helpless & we can get things done.

Finally, we began some home remodeling to our ancient home. So far, we have the living room completed. However, I know nothing of remodeling. As a contractor, this is as normal to my husband as brushing his teeth. While there are obviously a ton of things I can’t do due to lack of knowledge in construction, I was able to assist in carpet installation. I was also given the arduous task of pulling up old staples. Wee! So, not fun. I continued this task with breaks, frequently, because my stupid hands won’t cooperate.

The floor work was increased when I stepped in the wrong place & literally, fell through the floor. One leg went into the floor, one was up in a sort of vertical split. I am not built for splits. I picked splinters out of myself for several days. However, it was funny and I convinced the youngest to not YouTube or Snapchat it.

Looking forward to June!

Posted in Health, Home, Parkinson's Disease

My Year of Firsts

I will be 40 this year. I have no idea where the last decade went. It has NOT been an easy decade for sure. So, this year I decided that I would take every opportunity to try new things this year. It’s not a bucket list. It isn’t a wish list either. But, when an opportunity presents itself, I will jump on it. It’s a promise I made to myself.

I’ve been taking stock of things, internally, lately. I figured this would pull me out of my slump, get me moving more, & maybe, just maybe, motivate our youngest to try new things, too. Now, some things might not be big things. In fact, most won’t. I suppose my theory is to just do things. Having two debilitating diseases, one of which is progressive, makes a person re-evaluate a lot of their time and effort. The bottom line is that if my body is going to be tired anyway, I might as well give it a good reason to be tired!

A hinderance for me has always been anxiety. Whether it’s caused by or in addition to, my diseases, the doctors can’t specify. But, I do have issue with crowds, strangers, etc. Wal-Mart is a literal nightmare for me. So, some of my firsts are going to challenge me. I know that. It also takes me twice as long as my husband & son to get somewhere we’re walking to and I am usually exhausted a whole lot quicker. So, the firsts will be a physical challenge too.

So far, I have done some small things. I ate at our local VFW with a crowd of people there. It was a major step for me. However, the people were pleasant, the food was fantastic, & we had a good time. I also tried yoga for the first time. But, I did The Yoga Prayer. Basically, it’s yoga but at times when one would meditate & such, Biblical Scriptures are read along with a Christian prayer. It lasted 45 minutes. It was tasking, difficult, but motivating & I felt accomplished when I’d finished. For a few of the poses, I did have to change a bit. There a just a few things my body can’t physically do.

Win, lose or draw, I hope to accomplish a lot more as the moments arise. If nothing else, I feel like I have a goal for the year. Hopefully, I will have a much fuller list when 1/1/18 arrives!