Shirley Thompson

North Shore Update

Trials and Tribulations of the Holiday Season

The tree is up and decorated.  Nakita (our female cat) has settled in under the tree for the season.  Alexei (our male cat) has discovered my hiding place for the Christmas gifts.  I went shopping in Duluth last week and put all of the plastic bags in my walk in closet until I get a chance to wrap them.  Friday I had an appointment at the bank and was gone for about an hour and a half. Before I left I went into the closet to get my purse, gloves, coats, and boots.  Alexei followed me into the closet and would not come out when I did; so I left the door ajar so he could get our while I was gone.  Now, Alexei knows that I had gone shopping and placed all the gifts in that closet, he, and his sister Nakita, decided to snoop for thier presents.  When I arrived home it was to find that all of the gifts I had purchased were strewn all over my closet, not a thing was left in any of the bags.  As soon as I got upstairs both cats "shot" out of the closet and took off for the lower level.  When I entered the closet I discovered what they had been up to.  Fortunately, I had put their Christmas gifts in a bag on the TOP shelf in the closet.  It is only a matter of time before they figure that out so I now close the closet door making sure that BOTH cats are not in the closet.

The cats are driving me nuts, at least Alexei is.  The cats have Christmas collars that I keep in a basket in the living room.  They have 2 elf collars with bells, 2 smaller Christmas collars with bells, 1 male cat collar that is a shirt collar with a tie, and one Santa hat.  Last night I turned off the light on my bedside table and settled down to get some sleep.  I heard the bedroom door being pushed open and I could hear Jingling bells.  I turned on the light to see Alexei sitting beside the bed with one of the elf collars in his mouth.  I got up, put the collar on him and headed back to bed.  He immediately rolled around until he got the collar off.  I got up, picked up the collar and put it on top of my jewelry armoire. I then turned off the light and laid down again.  A few minutes later I hear the bedroom door being pushed open and I again hear jingling bells.  I turned on the light and now Alexei is sitting beside the bed with one of the smaller Christmas collars in his mouth.  I again got up and put the collar on him.  He immediately started rolling around trying to get it off.  I took it off him and placed this second collar next to the first one on top of my jewelry armoire.  I turned off the light and again went to bed.  I awoke this morning with Alexei in bed with me, the other elf collar, the other Christmas collar, the shirt and tie collar, and the Santa hat all in bed with me. I put one of the collars on Alexei and he has been wearing it ever since.  I then got up, made the bed, washed up, got dressed, and opened the blinds in the bedroom and immediately shut them again.  It was snowing out again.  I eventually opened the blinds figuring that where ever I go in the house I’m going to see that falling snow.  All it meant to me was that my already sore back was going to really be sore because it meant I had to shovel again. I’m getting to the point that I figure if Mother Nature put it there she can da… well remove it.

I went downstairs, fed the cats, and opened the blinds in Rich’s room in preparation for getting him up. Rich exclaimed over the beautiful scenery and I told him if it continues I would need traction.  He had the audacity to laugh at me.  Alexei “jingles” in with his collar on.  Rich looks at the cat with the jingling collar and I said “Don’t ask.”

 I got Rich his breakfast and headed out to the garage in preparation for going into town to get the mail.  We had another 3-4 inches of white stuff out there.  I opened the door to the garage to see that the pile of snow on one side of the driveway near the garage door and been pushed over.  Hurray!  The little snow fairies moved some of that white s… themselves?  I then shoveled the front walk and headed into town.  I’m still wondering how that pile of snow got moved I couldn’t see where the plow had been through again.  Elves you think?  Devine intervention?  Maybe next time the little fairies will clear off the front walkway.

 It still looks lovely out here, I’ve got a Thermal care heat wrap on my back, snow is still falling once in awhile.  What that means is that I will, again, need to clear the front walk.  Oh well, it has to stop sometime I just hope it is before June.  My next project will be to start looking for a lightweight snowblower that I can handle.

This evening, at dinner time, I took off Alexei's Christmas collar and put it back in the basket.  As I was reading tonight before going to bed I heard the bedroom door being pushed open again and jingling bells.  Alexei was back with his Christmas collar in his mouth, I put it back on him and I guess he will wear it until after Christmas.  I know when I'm beat.

 Yesterday, while taking a close up photoshot of a pine branch with snow the upper branches decided to drop their load of snow on my head.  I had just finished clearing the snow from the front walk and headed back to the garage door entrance when a load of snow from the roof decided to land on my head.  Rich said I resembled frosty the snowman when I finally made it inside.  The resemblance was made complete because I had snow caked on me up to my a.. from walking through the snow at my neighbors house to turn off the septic alarm.  It goes off whenever we loose power even for a minute.  Irritating thing but I had to turn if off or it would have continued buzzing until our neighbors get up here on the 26th

 At least I have shoveled the snow in smaller increments, my neighbors have a good 2 feet or more to shovel to make it to their front door and they have a long walkway.  Someone is always worse off than you are.  If Santa remembers to bring me a nice snowblower I’ll let them borrow it.

On Tuesday of this last week I got up to discover we had no water.  It was bitterly cold out so I figured we had a frozen pipe.  I called the plumber who told me I had to call the guy who drilled our well.  I then called him and he said he would come out to take a look.  I then called our construction guy Donny and left a message with him. It wasn't long before Donny called me back and said he was on his way up to take a look also and that he would meet the well driller up there.  They both arrived to discover that the heating system was unplugged.  It hadn't been plugged in this fall to heat the pipes because it takes so much juice that it had been unplugged this last spring to save on electricity.  Well, it hadn't been replugged in and one of the pipes had some of the heat shield off.  I also had them check to see if we needed to have a heater installed in the crawl space under the house.  They fixed the problem and Donny called me on his cell phone from the crawl space under my house to have me try the water.  Eureka!  We had water running again, I was so happy.  He also said that is was warm enough in the crawl space that we didn't need to install a heater and that the pipe that froze was not one under my house.  So, hopefully all is taken care of.

Rich had his MRI and his visit with the Neurologist.  We learned that the MS is progressing and that his brain is shrinking.  The brain normally shrinks as we get older but the MS is causing it to shrink at a faster rate causing cognizant memory problems.  This didn't surprise me since he never remembers anything I tell him but I told the doctor I thought it was "selective hearing" problems.  He has put him on a new medication which costs about $400.00 a month to refill.  We are waiting to see if VA is going to fill that prescription, we certainly can't afford it.  At least it gets him off the ritalin.  He goes to the doctor in Superior at the VA clinic next week.  I also have to call our Regional Serivice Officer to help us get the forms for the van to the doctor to fill out.  I had quite a run around with the VA trying to figure out who to contact.  I called the clinic in Superior, she gave me a name and number in Minnesapolis, he gave me to the prothetics department, she told me to call our local VA representative.  So, I'm back to square one again.

Found a local church I like.  It is the United Church which is a cross between Methodist and Presbyterian.  I like it, everyone is friendly and nice.  So, we are coping well.

Hope everyone has a safe and happy Holiday Season