It's been an interesting/intense few weeks of late. Last week's road trip to College Station was a welcome break. An excellent chance to step away from the daily problems, headaches, worries and break bread with a few old friends. Some of the stories seem to have grown in stature with time. In retrospect, they sound like a bunch of "old army" stories that take on legendary status (at least in our circle) but in the sober light of day, we tend to shake our heads and wonder how we survived. I'll work to dredge up a few of the more classic ones in a few future postings. Yes I will try to dig up the border crossing saga but I always felt the night we almost blew up our door in the dorm was way more epic. And here's a slight hint: Mark was a key player in both sagas.
I would lament about work, but I find that I have been doing that way too much of late and I don't like to whine about my problems especially when they are miniscule in comparison to others. Everytime I think that things are overwhelming or unjust, I step back and look at other people and the problems they face and, somehow, my issues don't seem quite as big or insurmountable. A long, long time ago, I took a summer course on motivation and how to focus on and achieve goals. It was taught by a woman who had actually worked for my dad at one point but she wasn't happy with her job and he encouraged her to pursue her dreams of teaching and speaking. Interesting class, it taught me several things that I still espouse. One of her exercises was for a person to get up in the morning and face themselves in a mirror and repeat the saying: "Every day, in Every way, I am getting better and better". Repeat 10 times. Yea, I know. Sounds corny, but it did work for me (somewhat). The one thing she said that did stick with me was that you have a choice in the morning when we wake up: You can be happy or you can be mad. Depending upon which one you choose, that is normally how the day will go. Oddly enough, I found this to be true. If you wake up pissed off at the world, that is pretty much how your day will go. I prefer the former. No matter what kind of crap I get dished out, I try to take it with a smile (or at least smirk). Besides, no matter how big the problem, there is always someone lower down on the ladder than is dealing with bigger challenges.
Status on SIL is about the same. It has been a year since SIL had her surgery and she is not any closer to getting her life back. It seems like she will make progress one week and then has small set backs that put her right back at the start (two steps forward, one step back). Every other week she does chemo and it seems to wear her down. We continue to do what we can to help but it has been a very long road with lots of twists and turns. My wife is still taking care of her full time and it is wearing her out as well. Being a nephrologist (Kidney Doctor), SIL fully understands her situation and the challenges she faces. Needless to say, she is very down/depressed and uncertain of her outcome.
Claire is getting old and slowing down. I took her to the vet and they didn't find any issues or problems aside of her just getting old. She still acts like a puppy at times, just a goofy old puppy. And, yes, she still rolls in the grass every time we go to the park.
On the bright side, we are getting new bathroom. Not exactly a planned event. I noticed a slight leak in the bathroom walls where the sheetrock was starting to get moist. We've had a shower pan leak many years ago and I know what a massive project that can be to replace it so I was avoiding it for while dealing with the other issues. When I spotted a wet carpet outside of the bathroom, I decided to close down the shower for a while to see if that would dry it out. 2 weeks later, the carpet was still soaked so I felt we might have a pipe leak in the walls. Called in a plumber who assessed that the pipe was not leaking ($75 for that diagnosis) but he really did not determine the root cause. I finally called in my insurance company to seek their help/advice and they jumped on it right away. The sent out a master plumber who figured out that it was NOT the shower pan but a leak from the toilet that has seeped under the tile floor and wicked up into the bathroom walls. The sent out a water remediation company who set up three massive blowers and a dehumidifier to run nonstop for a week drying out the room. The net result was a very loud, noisy bathroom for a week that got very warm (~90°). Finally the room dried out enough to lose the fans but the damage was done. Estimator came out last week to survey the repairs and it looks like they will have to tear out the shower and replace a good portion of the sheetrock. Since the shower tile is a classic 70's gold spec that is not made any more, looks like we are getting a new shower. We are looking at tile and wallpaper now. We will probably will get a new pocket door, shower door and new rug and as well. Of course, as with any project, there is some amount of scope creep (momma wants a new vanity with new fixtures). I would like to have the toilet replaced (Toto) while they are in there. Additionally, I am trying to convince momma to replace the bathroom window at the same time (ours is the old original single pane, frosted window). Still waiting for the contractor to get assigned to come review the job. It is going to be a holy mess and I figure it will take a few weeks to demo out the bathroom, but we are hoping to have it done by late December. Merry Christmas.