While we were out having birthday dinner with Matt’s grandparents and cousin (picture 1), somedog was eating her feelings in the bedroom (picture 2). I think Carver has reached her tipping point with the concrete polishing and being cooped up most of the day. It looks like we’ll be considering some sort of carpet repair soon. Can you even patch carpet? I really don’t want to replace it.
Concrete polishing day 2: The floor is now very smooth. They scored lines in it that make it look like giant stone tiles. They’re very thin and shallow grooves which I really like and was exactly what I wanted even though I never told our contractor. (I thought they would score it on Thurs.) They also added a densifier to the concrete to make it less porous and a better moisture barrier. It has to totally dry before they can add the color tomorrow.
The dogs have been hanging out in the bedroom all day while the workers are here. They are being good sports, though this evening Carver seems a little stressed. Too many new smells and not enough old smells and couches to lay on.
Today I turn 32. I told Matt that for my birthday I would like to go through that magical body polishing machine from the Hunger Games that made Katniss’ skin all smooth and dewy so I look young and more refreshed. (Sometimes chronic illness makes you look perpetually tired.) I settled for an exfoliating facial scrub last night and some eye drops and I’m feeling as young as 30 today. (Eye drops apparently make a night and day difference to my face.)
31 was a year that brought some health surprises that caught me off guard (not the usual expected things with CF), but in all it was a good year for many reasons. We refinanced our house and that made me feel responsible, triumphant, and grown up. We bought a new-to-us car—another responsible grown up thing to do and the first car we’ve bought together. There have been good and unexpected new things in my job and I enjoy it and think I’m continuing to become better at it. I am exercising more. There were a few years “lull” where my attack of Old Lady Back was frustrating and limiting. There was lots of biking this year (an bit of an increase from the year before and I’m certainly stronger and faster) and my back is able now to hike and walk and elliptical train happily and that makes me feel like a million dollars.
I’m not sure what 32 will throw my way, but I will try to take any health obstacles in stride and be thankful for the good things and good people that come my way.
Matt and I will celebrate on a small scale tonight at home and then tomorrow night we will go out to eat with Matt’s grandparents and cousin. I also will take off from work tomorrow because I have an endocrinology appointment in Houston, so I might treat myself to birthday outlet shopping afterwards.
Concrete polishing day 1: Major grinding is complete. The slab is still damp because the contractor wet-grinds. Thankfully they covered the lower part of the walls with plastic. It’s remarkably smooth already except for the cracks (yes, there are cracks; our house is almost 30 years old) and the divots that needed filling after the tile removal. We picked the “salt and pepper” finish where some aggregate in the concrete is exposed. You can see it in the second picture. There will be several more days of finer and finer grinding until it’s smooth and shiny and at some point they’ll add a densifier and pigment to lightly color it.
We had our kitchen/laundry room tile demoed today and as a result we learned a lot about our house’s previous owners’ painting abilities and work ethic.
Exhibit A: The wall behind the washing machine. No need to actually put a second coat on the part of the wall that will be covered by the washer. No idea why we didn’t notice this when we moved in 5 years ago. Maybe the lights weren’t on in there that day.
Exhibit B: Slightly better job painting behind the fridge (but still terrible), but why remove the painters tape? No one will see it. The fridge came in the house when we bought it so we’ve never seen these walls.
There’s a little patchwork to do on the concrete after the tile removal. We’ll have this taken care of on Friday after we return from Thanksgiving travels.
Tonight I learned a couple of hard baking lessons. I signed up to bring ginger cookies to the Thanksgiving potluck at work tomorrow. Matt’s grandmother has an amazing recipe and makes them frequently and it’s my favorite cookie she makes. Seemed like a great idea.
Pictured on the right is a one week old Mimi Cookie which I tried to emulate. On the left is the best and prettiest cookie of my batch which looks terribly gross in real life (the photo improves it a lot).
The lessons I learned:
1) Blackstrap molasses is in no way equivalent to regular molasses. It’s much, much stronger and will make your unbaked cookies look like little balls of poo. It was what was in the pantry and seemed like it would be fine. At least I remembered it was saltier and cut out half the recipe’s salt.
2) You cannot substitute coconut oil in every recipe that calls for shortening. We never use shortening and every time I’ve bought it for a one-time recipe, it sits for months/years and goes bad. I use coconut oil in other baked recipes. Seemed like it could be a winner in cookies. Most of my cookies were kind of weird melty looking on the edges from the coconut oil either not mixing in evenly or having a lower viscosity when melted.
They look too unappetizing to bring to a potluck. The only redeeming quality is the decorative, festive sugar on them. It’s especially defeating to have the goal end-product on hand to compare them to. I would bring Matt’s grandmother’s cookies instead but there are only 6. I think I will go buy some grocery store cookies on the way to work and pretend they are homemade.
EDIT: reading the baking fail hashtag on tumblr made me feel better about my stupid cookies.
Fare thee well, wood floor. We spent this cold and raining morning pulling up the remaining wood except for the small amount under the aquarium stand (saving that for next weekend when we move all the furniture out). This afternoon we hauled the boxes off to donate to the Habitat for Humanity store. Hopefully it can have a second life in someone else’s house.
On Wednesday a contractor will demo the ceramic tile in our kitchen, then the next Monday FINALLY the concrete polishing will begin. We’re having the concrete in the entry way, living room, dining area, kitchen, and laundry room all polished since they are contiguous and it would be weird to have the 1/2 inch step up to tile in the kitchen. The polishing process could take up to 7 days, so that could mean up to 2 weeks of having our refrigerator live in the garage. Not excited about that, but we’ll survive.
Credits: boxes courtesy of amazon, pulmozyme (“perishable” box), and Zenpep. Boxes are a perk of getting lots of medication deliveries.
Route: West Campus loop
Location: College Station
Distance: 10.5 miles
Average speed: 14.2 mph
Average heart rate: 157 bpm
Weather: 77, cloudy, strong SE wind
Most interesting sight: Kyle Field demolition
We are having internet issues at our house today. It’s momentarily working, but the instant I try to use more than one wifi device, it blips out. I spent the better part of the morning on the phone with our cable provider and I’m insanely frustrated. For some reason I’m not an authorized user on Matt’s account so I can’t request a technician visit?
The best way to take out frustration is to exercise, so I took a short bike ride. Same route as Monday except I didn’t detour around the hill on the way home. I even got up to 24 mph passing a dangerous, slowly meandering car out in research park. That raised my heart rate big time, but in a good way because a high heart rate means good, strong coughing to clear out my lungs.
The picture is of our football stadium which has just begun an almost year long renovation. A huge portion is missing where the crane is. The field is all bulldozed now. It’s so strange to have this begin before football season has even ended, but they are on a tight deadline to have it ready for next year’s season.
This tea bag is helping me work on my self-esteem this morning.
Boy, do I need it. It’s been a rough week. I have had a terrible joint pain flare up all week. Think of burning pain everywhere you have cartilage, but most prominently in your SI joint, knees, ankles, and feet. I kind of thought I was finished with this mysterious arthritis since it hasn’t really hurt like this since the summer. Perhaps it’s indicative of me getting lung-sick? I’ve also had a runny nose/congestion all week which I think is from ragweed pollen but who knows. My body sucks this week.
Work has been a little more physically demanding than usual this week with lots of tours and meetings and students needing training or help with their experiments…which equals more standing and talking than is ideal when my joints hurt and my voice is strained from whatever allergy head-mess is going on.
Oh, and I’m so tired of being skinny because none of my clothes fit. There was a tour at work yesterday that required a little more formal dress than the typical casual science wear. Suggestion: slacks or skirt with blouse for ladies. It was 35 degrees yesterday morning so skirt/tights was not my first choice but I literally have only one pair of pants that are not jeans that fit right now and they are ankle/crop pants that aren’t exactly cold-weather-friendly.
On Monday I scheduled an appointment with an endocrinologist per my CF doctor’s referral to get checked out more thoroughly for CF-related diabetes. I think I’m in that “impaired glucose tolerance” range where I’m not fully diabetic yet. I’m not sure what the doctor will do or can do about that. I just know my weight hasn’t been good for months and it’s been difficult to gain weight and my body isn’t responding well to delicious, refined carbs. Scheduling the appointment was kind of defeating and definitely makes me sad. Like my body is failing in its fight.
There are other non-health-related things that are happening this week that maybe I’ll write about later. For now, I will drink my ginger tea and prepare myself to talk for the next two hours while I train someone to use a spectrometer.
P.S. I should mention how wonderful Matt is when I don’t feel my best. He’s been cooking dinner this week, and also eggs and bacon for me for breakfast this week, and generally doing nice things to cheer me up and help me be less stressed. He’s truly excellent.
Route: West Campus loop
Location: College Station
Distance: 10.5 miles
Average speed: 14.0 mph
Weather: 65, dark, cool breeze
Number of lights we used: 7
Number of other cyclists: lots of students riding around campus
Matt and I set off on a short ride after work just as the sun started to set. The weather was great and we had fun riding. I picked up a cheap little handlebar mount LED at a bike shop today while buying tubes (I’ve fixed 3 flats in the last 2 days) and it worked pretty well. I was having The Sads today so a little night ride was just what I needed today.