"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

Hello Friends!

Friends, Romans, countrymen...y'all. Foodies, gardeners, artists and collectors - let's gather together to share and possibly learn a thing or two in the mix.

Donna Baker

Monday, August 24, 2015

I Bought A House

I only wish it was this English thatched house, but it isn't.  I, who know little to nothing about business, real estate, taxes, legal proceedings and paperwork, etc., went to an open house yesterday and with much gnashing of teeth, bought a house.  Let me explain.

This is not something I would ever do.  But, never say never.  We are in the process of selling our city house.  Let me add here that the moving process and packing and sale, sucks.  I rarely ever move and in fact, we've lived at the farm for 33 years.  Yet, we needed another house in the city.  My children and grandchildren live there, and my husband works there 3 days a week.  First, my daughter-in-law suggested we go to an open house on Saturday.  I loved it.  I went home and couldn't quit thinking about it.  Everyone, except my husband, who said it'll still be there (he's old school and doesn't know how houses sell in that part of the city), said if you want it you'd better make an offer or you'll lose it.  Where it could take a year or two to sell the farm someday, city houses go fast.  

So I took my daughter and her babies back Sunday to look at it.  Many lookers were there.  We went back out to the truck and I agonized over whether I should put in an offer or not.  I thought I would have a panic attack, or worse. I am the type of person to overthink everything, have to research and weigh things carefully. I finally got up the nerve, texted my husband that I was going to put in an offer on a house and meekly knocked on the door, ready to flee at any moment.  I am a spineless wuss I'll admit.

I took the seller aside and told her I'd like to make an offer.  We went into her office and I told her I would offer full price and asked for a floor allowance.  I don't do carpet; have to have hardwood floors throughout.  She agreed and she asked me to read contract first (it was legaleze and my brain was foggy and eyes glazed over).  She came back in and we proceeded.  Her husband called her out.  Seems the wife of another looker told her husband what was happening and they quickly wanted to make an offer.  The seller then told me the other people offered full ask with no allowances.  What could I do? she asked.  I had to up my offer with no allowances, but told them that was all I could do.  The other man that was making an offer, told them he'd beat whatever my offer was.

I thought I would die.  I, who know nothing of such proceedings and am a milktoast pushover, waited for their reply.  They were looking at me, trying to decide what to do for a long few minutes.  Then, the seller's husband said he didn't want to get into this bidding war, and was going to go with me. 

I died.  But, I got through it, though didn't sleep at all last night and am still running on adrenaline.  It nearly slipped away from me and I got it by the skin of my teeth, within seconds really.  They've already had four more offers they had to turn down.  The man that lost out was devastated and wouldn't leave.  Kept wanting to up the anty.

So, my husband didn't kill me.  We've been at the bank this morning filling out forms.  They want copies of everything financial and contractual etc.  Buying a house in the US is crazy, with all the inspections, closing companies, mortgage companies, inspectors and appraisers, etc.  Is it so complicated in other countries?  

I love English thatched cottages which mine is definitely not.  But, I loved the house and felt it was the one.  What I didn't tell you is that it was the first one I've looked at which is why my husband was so opposed.  "You can't take the first house you look at!" he said.  I know.  It is weird, but I just knew it was the one and was afraid of losing it and I just about did. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Cautionary Tale

Some posts back, I wrote about wondering what is really going on behind the scenes of our blogging community.  I mentioned that no one wants to hear about bone spurs or anxiety disorders, but is it really all flowers and beautiful tableaux?

The farm where we live is in a hilly, forested area.  There are ticks.  Never saw anything like it.  I myself have had eight so far this year.

I digress.  My husband has been sick and symptomatic for four years.  He has these 'spells'; that is what he calls them (though I've learned they are called flares.)  He'll be fine one minute and the next he spikes a fever, become so cold he covers up in blankets on 100 degree days, will have chills and be just literally in bed, weak as a puppy.  They would disappear just as fast as they'd come.  He would go to the doctor, a general practice MD, who would put him on Amoxicillan and send him off.  He'd get better for a while, but the spells never went away.  

One thing that has compounded the problem, is that in 2001, he had surgery, chemo and radiation treatments at MD Anderson hospital in Houston for a stage four throat cancer.  He made it, but from the radiation treatments, his throat opening now is the size of an ink pen making swallowing a daily trial.  He has his throat stretched occasionally, but mainly the benefits now are to keep it from closing up further.

In the US, you have your main doctor, then see specialists for other things.  None really know what the other is doing.  They simply don't have the time, which, is why I think his primary doctor never figured out what was going on.  You really do have to be your own medical overseer/researcher.

My husband has gotten sicker and sicker, is down to 105 lbs. and finally has hit rock bottom, literally unable to work some days.  Did I mention he is a terrible patient and hard headed?

I was reading a book about a woman with malaria and told my husband that their symptoms were very similar.  I did some research and there were actually 20,000 cases in the US last year and that number is growing.  Then, I started researching tickborne illnesses.  I couldn't believe it; there are so many different kinds and the list grows daily.  I finally convinced my husband to request a tick panel test from his doctor.  The results came back positive for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Ehrlichiosis both of which can be fatal if left untreated.  Doxycycline was prescribed and it made him horribly ill.  Bedridden and with high fever.  He couldn't even get in to see his primary physician to see if he was having a drug reaction, so he won't be seeing that doctor again.

Meanwhile, to get in to see an infectious disease specialist, you have to be referred by another doctor.  We got him in within days through another friend of his.  The new ID doctor has been a blessing.  Very competent and thorough.  After all new testing and urging my husband to get a feeding tube as it is so important in fighting ID, he said the tests would take about 2-3 weeks for results.  

Imagine our surprise when he called my husband the next day and said he had gotten some results back.  His C Reactive protein was at 17 (normal is around 1.) and more importantly, he got a test back for Bartonella henselae.  He said it was off the charts; he'd never seen a higher number in his 30 years of practice.  He wanted him to start that night on azithromycin.   He doesn't think he has RMSF for it probably would have killed him left untreated for this long, but we'll see whatever other co-infections there are.  He saw a gastroenterologist yesterday, but the earliest he could schedule a feeding tube was November.  

By the way, Bartonella henselae is a proteobacterium that is commonly called Cat Scratch Fever.  Research is sketchy and it could also be transmitted by ticks.  One thing I've learned from all of this is that diagnosis of many infectious diseases is in its infancy; after many diseases like malaria et al were eradicated in the states by new drugs in the 1950's, research fell off, monies dried up and very few went in to the practice of infectious diseases.  The Walking Dead is closer than we think.

We are finally hopeful now to know some of what is going on with my husband's health.  Some nights when he drags himself off to bed, I wonder if he will be alive in the morning, so severe are his symptoms.  I've even watched the rise and fall of his chest to see if he is breathing at night.  

The cautionary tale here is do your own research.  If you have strange symptoms that can't be diagnosed, request tests or a referral to an infectious disease specialist.  You wouldn't believe what all is lurking out there.

PS ~ we've been married for 43 years and don't know what I'd do without him.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Dust To Dust

I've had this textile for some time now.  I don't even know if it is Japanese or Chinese.  As you can see it is disintegrating.  

It was nearly impossible to photograph.  I took it outside for the light, but feared it blowing away in bits.  The 'thread', silk I am certain, is finer than a human hair.  It seems to be bonded somehow to a paper like backing, then attached to some kind of board.  Notice the white paper with the silk attached to the right of her chest.

There was a boy beside her.  Notice the background of a stairway to the right and stone walls and pavers on the ground.

The upper left is beautiful with it delicate florals.  What I thought were flames must in fact be drapery of some kind.  Did they even use drapery back then?

Their little shoes and dress should tell where they are from.

Again, my limited camera skills and no knowledge of how to photo shop etc. can't show much more than I have shown.  Can't imagine how someone made this so long ago.  So sweet, but sad it won't last long.