One of the things I like about letting the cats use the sun room for the winter, is looking out the bathroom window and seeing them all in a pile on the swing bench.
Sometimes, though, we see this guy.
He was loafed by himself by the old kitchen door and looking completely miserable. But then, he always looks miserable. That beat up face, though…
We really don’t want to encourage him to stick around. He attacks our own yard cats – even the females – way too often. And, of course, he gets them pregnant.
And yet I would love nothing more than to socialize him. Clearly, he’s had a brutal life. As long as he’s not bothering the other cats, we’re certainly not going to chase him out of the sun room in winter. As I write this, we are at -29C/-20F with a wind chill of -38C/-36F. The thermometer in the sun room was reading -20C/-4F when I was putting the food out. Far better, I’m sure, than the many shelters there are around the property, even besides the ones we’ve provided for them. Plus, there is food and warm water.
Well, that cold wave is still over us, and we are still getting temperatures quite a bit lower than what has been forecast!
Before I headed outside, it was -32C/-26F out there. The wind chill was -42F/-44F. I’ve been trying to wait a bit longer to head out, so as not to disturb the cats keeping warm in the sun room, but it hasn’t really been working. I am writing this more than 2 hours after the above screen cap was taken, and we’re still at -31C/-24F, with a wind chill of -43F/-45F.
Even in the sun room, the wall thermometer was reading -20C/-4F when I came in. That’s what our high of the day is supposed to be today.
I don’t think that’ll happen! 😄
I noticed that no cats have been sitting on top of the board supporting the light fixture we have set up, with the ceramic heat bulb. After giving the cats their kibble and warm water (the kibble outside is not being eaten much, while the kibble in the sun room is disappearing quickly – go figure!😉), I made a point of wading through the eating cats to reach the fixture and put my hand under to check the heat.
There was none.
I touched the bulb and wiggled it around, finding it moved as if it were loose in the socket. Very loose.
So I cut the twine that was holding it in place and flipped it over.
That would do it.
I can’t really think of how this happened. Best guess would be that it was from their jumping onto the board to sit on it. While the fixture was tied to the frame of the mini greenhouse, so it couldn’t be knocked off, it could still slide from side to side. I suppose it’s possible it got jarred so many times, the bulb finally broke.
The flat panel heater my husband got puts out almost no heat at all. So there is no heat source in there at the moment.
We’ve ordered replacement heat bulbs.
Until then, I should look through our collection of lightbulbs and see if we have a 100w incandescent bulb. That can act as a mild heat source, too. Just until the new ceramic bulbs come in.
It makes me wonder if we should check the heat bulb in the cat house again. With the accumulated ice and snow on and around it, I’m not sure we’d be able to open it without cracking the frame. We’re going to need to do it at some point, though. I noticed the heat shield above the fixture has been bent up. Why the cats are going after something that’s attached to the ceiling and top of the wall escapes me, but… well… it’s not like cats need much reason for what they do! 😄
We have been so spoiled by the mild winter we’ve had so far!
As I write this, it’s coming up on noon, and we have warmed up to -28C/-18F but the wind chill has gotten colder, at -40C/F (it’s the came in both Celsius and Fahrenheit at that point!). It’s bright and sunny out there, with clear skies. As I look out my window while writing this, I don’t see even a light breeze in the trees, but it doesn’t take much to drive the wind chill down at these temperatures.
When I went into the sun room this morning, the wall thermometer was at about -18C/0F, while outside it was at about -31C/-24F. I had made sure to top up the heated water bowl in the sun room yesterday the evening, and it was a bit less than half full this morning – with a sheet of ice starting to form on the surface! When unfastening the cord holding the doors propped open, just enough for the cats to squeeze in and out, I had to be careful not to touch the metal door handle for long with my bare hands. Tending to the outside cats was all I did out there this morning. The trail cams are probably frozen. With the sign cam, which is batteries only, it typically stops recording when the batteries get too cold, but starts up again as they warm up. It has fresh batteries, so it should be good. The solar powered trail cam is still on its first set of batteries, and they’re still showing as 100%. It’s in full sun, so it should actually be warmer than ambient temperature (the images include a temperature display, and it’s internal temperature is always at least a few degrees higher than the actual temperature). How it does in these temperatures will be the ultimate test for it. If it does well, we will be getting more like it, to replace the older ones that are starting to glitch out more often. We won’t be able to get the exact same camera, as they are no longer available, but there is a new version from the same company.
There was no way I was going out there to switch out the memory cards, though. Not today!
I didn’t even try for a head count with the outside cats, but the last I looked out the bathroom window, the swing bench was covered by a mass of multicoloured fur!
Even the inside cats are feeling it. Though I turned down the thermostat a bit, the furnace has been going almost constantly. That vibrating noise is sometimes there, mostly not. Of course, most of our heat vents has a cat on it. While tending the greenhouse aquarium, Fenrir wouldn’t even wait for me to put everything back before she was trying to climb onto the light fixtures – which were one on top of the other at the time! Once they were in place again, she settled right in.
She looks like such a Sphinx in that pose!
Beep Beep was also quick to climb on. Fenrir is actually looking at her, out of frame, sitting on the end of the fixture, trying to figure out why Fenrir is in her spot!
Those fixtures stay nice and toasty, and the more agile cats take full advantage of that.
That, and body heat. Especially upstairs. The girls have their heaters going, and usually several cats each, curled up against them all night long!
Meanwhile, I popped onto Facebook this morning, and saw a friend post a screencap of her weather app. At 8am, she was at 19C/66F.
She’s also just moved to Puerto Vallarta.
After living in the Yukon for several years.
Funny. I find I know an awful lot of Canadians who have either moved permanently South, or are planning to do so over the next year or two!
Days like today, I find myself thinking that sounds like a pretty good idea!
I just got off the phone to cancel the vet appointment this morning.
By the time I was done, the temperature had actually dropped even further. Our van just isn’t safe in these temperatures.
The clinic’s answering service doesn’t take messages, so I had to wait until they opened to call and cancel. The receptionist had no issues with such a short notice cancelation. She had troubles herself this morning!
We will wait until the cold snap breaks, then book another appointment. Thankfully, grandma hasn’t been pawing at her face or making those glancing noises of late. We still want to check her out, but it’s not any emergency.
The forecast was wrong again. I just wish it were wrong in the other direction!
I am SO glad I was able to get the big shop done yesterday!
The temperatures were expected to go down over the next while, but still be just below average. Of course, the forecasts change constantly it still wasn’t by much.
Yeah, well… this is what we were at this morning.
Just in case the image isn’t loading for you, just after 8 this morning, we were at -31C/-24F, with a wind chill of -41C/-42F Our high of the day is still supposed to be -20C/-4F, which is actually our 30 year average low for the day, but the record low is -36C/-33F, so it’s still well within the norm. Will we actually warm up that much by this afternoon? I sure hope so, because we need to go into town! As it is, I cut my morning rounds down as much as I could, basically just making sure the outside cats had food and warm water, and that was pretty much is. I only counted 19 this morning. Most were in the sun room, but the ones outside were actually dancing around with their paws from the cold!
I’m really not looking forward to tomorrow morning. We have a vet appointment at 8:30 am, and it’s supposed to be about -28C/-18F at that time. Any wind chill on top of that will be brutal. We’ll be using the van for this trip because, for all the problems it has, it still handles the cold better than my mother’s car.
Speaking of handling problems, I finally got tired of one annoyance last night and did something about it.
I added string lights near my door.
This corner has the door to the old basement, and the door to my office/bedroom, and it is always really dark. It’s not too bad during the day but at night, even with string lights around the mirror hanging opposite my bedroom door, it is ridiculously dark. Usually, that results in tripping over or stepping on a cat at my door when I try to go in. Yesterday, it was an annoyance when I kept having to go into the old basement to check on things.
Also, those stairs really, really suck. And not just because my knees are shot.
The set of string lights I had on our Advent wreath got missed when the Christmas decorations were put away, so I added batteries and taped it around the basement door. It’s bright enough that I can now see the door handles, and even grey or black cats on the grey mat under my door (to protect the floor from their scratching).
As for why I kept having to go into the basement: noises.
Too many out of place noises.
Our well pump, every now and then, makes a vibrating noise when it starts. Of course, it stops by the time I get down to check it, and everything looks fine, but it really bothers me. At least it doesn’t make the grinding noise it used to. We have figured out that it would do that when too much water was being used at once, such as if the water for the shower was turned on too full. The pressure tank was being emptied faster than the pump could refill it, so it would start grinding. It means less water pressure while we are taking a shower, but that’s a small thing compared to burning out our pump and losing water completely. The vibrating noise is something else, though, and I can’t tell if it’s coming from the pump or the pipes to the tanks. Nothing has changed down there, though, so there is no obvious reason for it to start making that noise. It also seems to be a winter/cold weather thing, but I have no way to tell.
The pump has been going off more often, too. Even when no one is using the water, I would hear it start up. Some nights, I’ll be awakened because it’s turning on again. I’m the only one who can hear it, since my husband sleeps with a CPAP, which makes just enough noise to drown most things out, and the girls are on the second floor.
The problem is usually the toilet.
Ultimately, though, the source of the problem is our water. It is so full of iron and minerals, it’s messing things up. We’ll need to get a plumber in to fix the bathtub taps because the build up is getting so bad, the hot water tap leaks, even if only the cold water it turned on! When the plumber was here to clear the drain to the septic tank for us, he did take a quick look to give us an estimate, and he thinks he can fix it, rather than have to replace it, but we’d have to take off and replace the tub surround, since that’s the only way to access the taps.
It’s the toilet that is having more problems now. There must be quite a buildup inside the refill hose, as hardly any water flows through it, and it’s taking longer and longer for the tank to refill. The entire inside, which is lined with Styrofoam insulation, is coated with iron, which is also interfering with the flap. Sometimes, after flushing, the flap doesn’t seal right, so the tank keeps draining about as fast as the water is flowing to refill it, so the tank simply doesn’t fill. Unless someone happens to use the bathroom soon after and notices it – because there isn’t enough water to flush! – it’ll keep going for hours. Which is how I end up being awakened by the well pump going off repeatedly during the night! All that needs to be done is to give the lever a wiggle; the flap will settle in place and the tank will finally start filling. Looking at the parts and pieces, though, what I’d really like to do is simply replace all the innards. It’s all so coated with iron and minerals, that would probably be the best way to not just solve a couple of small problems, but keep them from happening again for a long time.
Which leads me to another little problem we’ve been having, thanks to our water quality.
The bathroom sink.
This still has the original tap and faucet set, from the mid 70’s or so. When the water flow starts to get bad, we usually just unscrew a piece from the faucet, give the parts a scrub, then put it back. If it’s really bad, we’ll soak the pieces in CLR for a while. The problem just kept coming back faster in between cleanings, though, and getting worse.
Last night, I had the pieces soaking in CLR again, but when I put them back, the flow was even worse than before the soak and scrub. I gave it some extra scrubbing, but that made things worse again, not better. I tried clearing the openings more directly but, again, it just got worse. When I put it back in place and almost no water could go through anymore, I had to do something more drastic! I took the part in question (I don’t know what it’s called) over to my craft table and tried to clear the holes with a pin. Which worked on one side, but not the other.
After much fighting with it, I managed to separate the pieces.
The grey piece at the top of the picture wasn’t too hard to clean. Especially when I was eventually able to get out the two other pieces inside. It was all so full of rust and gunk, each layer needed to be cleaned before I could get the next one out. The openings are large enough, the T pin I was using had no problem clearing them of scale and rust.
The real problem was the green piece.
The conical part you can see, with the fine mesh of holes, was still clogged. The holes on the bottom are even smaller, much fewer, and barely visible. I cleared them with a pin as best I could, but it was just not working well.
Eventually, I did get it to the point that the conical part started spinning around. Only then could I figure out where the pieces came apart. After much fussing – and the use of a tiny screwdriver – I was finally able to pop the conical part off.
Well, no wonder we were having problems!
Note that this is AFTER multiple soaks in CLR.
After wiping them down, I set the conical part aside to soak in CLR again, while I used the pin to clear the holes in the other part – holes that are much larger on the inside than the outside! Eventually, I got it to the point that I could see through all the holes when I held it up to the light. Not all the holes you see in the photo go all the way through. There’s just the circle of holes around the outer edge, plus another circle of holes half way to the centre.
Then I took the pin and cleared every last hole in the conical part.
By the time I was done and everything was put back together, it was 2am.
One of my daughters happened to be using the bathroom, so she put the newly cleaned part back together with the other parts and screwed it all back into the faucet for me.
Then we stood there and watched in awe over how much water was flowing through, as we let it run to make sure there was no CLR residue left. It hasn’t flowed this well in decades!
Now, if we could just get the toilet tank parts to flow as well!
At least this was a small thing we could take care of ourselves. There’s another new thing that is stressing me out.
The furnace has started making noises.
Of course, with this cold, the furnace is turning on more often, and staying on longer. This house is not very efficient, either, so we lose heat quickly. For all the time the furnace is on, the upstairs is still very cold. There’s only one heat vent for the entire second floor, and the girls have not noticed any real difference since the roof was done. Ah, well. It would have been nice!
Last night, I kept hearing the furnace turn on and start making a strange vibrating noise which – like the well pump – would stop by the time I hobbled my way down the basement stairs to check it.
I ended up turning the thermostat down, so at least the furnace would turn on less frequently, and not stay running as along. Oddly, after I did that, the vibrating noise seems to have stopped completely! Which doesn’t make any sense at all.
What we need to do is get someone to come in and give it a check, and do any maintenance stuff it needs. The problem is, we need to set aside funds for a replacement vehicle. Funds that would normally cover the cost of such irregular expenses. It becomes a battle of priorities over the dwindling “unallocated funds” part of our budget, since rising costs for everything else keeps chipping away at that, too.
It’s all these little things that are going to do us in. The well pump. The septic. The furnace. The taps. The toilet. The lights. The outlets. etc. All these accumulative things. Yes, it’s an old house. This sort of thing must be expected. Especially since there’s very little of this that we can do ourselves, and our resources are so limited.
So we try to focus on the stuff we do have control over, and juggle the budget to find ways to pay people to come in for the stuff we don’t.
The crazy thing is, a significant portion of these problems are caused by our water. It’s simply to loaded with iron and minerals. What I’d like to do is add a filter to the line going into the well pump. A simple filter would extend the life of all sorts of things! There are types that can be cleared without having to open it up to change filters, which would require re-priming the pump. Adding a filter is not going to be done until the pump is replaced, and we’ve already had three plumbers not want to do that (my brother already bought a new pump and all the fittings) due to the risk of the foot valve, at the bottom of the well, disintegrating and losing our water completely. That would turn a job of a few hundred dollars into a job of several thousand dollars, because of the set up we have, and the lack of availability of parts we would need. The valve itself is cheap. It’s all the other stuff that would have to be done to get to it that gets expensive!
Yup. It’s all those little things. They sure do add up!
The drive in wasn’t too bad. There was lots of blowing snow. It was bright and sunny, with hardly any clouds but at times, I could barely see the road. The snow being blown around was what fell last night. It wasn’t accumulating, though, and the road under it was dry. Road crews were out and keeping on top of clearing the shoulders, before things could drift over the roads. On the way out, I was driving with the wind mostly behind me, so that wasn’t too bad, either. On the trip home, however, with a loaded van, it was a bit of a fight the whole way. Not too, too bad, at least, but I could feel the van was having a hard time with both the weight in the back – all those cat food bags! – and being buffeted by the wind.
Not only has it been a long time since we’ve done a Costco trip, it’s been a long time since I’ve been there on a Friday! Gosh, it was busy. Things went smoothly, though, even when it was time to wait in line to pay. I wasn’t in any hurry, so that helped.
This is what $737.19 – after taxes – at Costco looks like.
I went to the post office before heading to the city. We have an executive membership, and today I got our renewal and rebate. The renewal was $120, and the rebate was $118.36, so a tiny bit extra went to the renewal.
There are only two “extras” on here, and quite a few things we didn’t get. One extra is the LED light. We now have three of those, for our plant starts. It was $10 off the regular price of $45. I think I’ll pick up one more next month, and then I think we should be good. The other extra, which you can’t even see in the photo, is a flat of Coke Zero, which was about $15. (I’m rounding the actual prices, since I don’t feel like typing .99 over and over)
When I started loading the flat cart, I reached about $200, just in cat food! (Thank you, M, for your donation!) I got two 9kg bags of the Kirkland brand, at $29 each, plus four 11.6kg bags of Whiskas at $35 each. It’s a better price per kg with the larger bag, but the cats do get tired of eating the same thing all the time after a while, so I like to change it up when I can. There is also a case of 48 cans of wet cat food, which now costs $39. The toilet paper now costs $23. The Kleenex was a good price, at $21 for a dozen big boxes.
Then it was time for some actual people food!
My daughter requested coconut oil, which was about $19. For cooking oil, I got Avocado oil this time – something we haven’t bought in a long time and were really missing – at almost $18 for a nice big bottle. Local stores have small bottles that cost even more, so it’s work waiting to get it at Costco.
There’s a couple of large tubs of mayonnaise, which now costs $11 each. A 2pk of butter chicken sauce was $10. There’s a large container of whole peppercorns, at $7, a 2pk of goat cheese for $11, a wheel of brie for another $11, and a 3 pk of cream cheese for under $10. I got only five pounds of butter, which is now $5.29 – higher than it was, but still much, much lower than at regular grocery stores.
They had the big blocks of marble cheese at $30, but nothing else in that size, so I got smaller blocks of old cheddar and mozza, at $15 each. A 10 lb bag of yellow potatoes was $7, a 2pk of rye bread was $6, two packs of wraps (36 count) for $10 each, and jumbo hot dog buns at under $6, to go with a 3pk of hot dog wieners at $21. For other meat, I only got a pork blade, at almost $29, and a pork loin, at $30.
There’s a 4L of milk at $5.69 – no savings there, since the prices for milk are government controlled. Two 1L of whipping cream, though, was only $4.79 each – quite a bit cheaper than elsewhere. A 5 count of avocados cost $8. The price of peanut butter hasn’t changed much, at under $9. A jar of raspberry jam cost only slightly less than the peanut butter – but was quite a bit cheaper than the strawberry jam I usually get! Usually, it’s the raspberry jam that is much more expensive.
Things on my list that I did NOT get included garbage bags (I was running out of space), ghee (I never found it), sour cream (I forgot), chocolate chips (running out of space), lemon juice (I forgot), pasta (the only ones I found were really expensive), pain killers, vitamins, shampoo and conditioner (I no longer had the energy to go through the pharmacy section) and sugar (I remembered, but didn’t want to add another big heavy bag to the cart).
One thing I almost got, but ended up putting back, was a package of really heavy duty, interlocking squares of floor mats. I want them for the kitchen. We had some regular ones that get sold as yoga mats, but the cats just tore them apart. The kitchen floor is in really bad shape, and it’d be nice to have something that not only covers it, but makes it easier on the back while standing there, doing dishes or whatever! In the end, I just couldn’t justify the cost, even though it was a really good price.
Later in the month, we should hit the Wholesale Club, where we can get pasta in giant bags, and I know I can find the big buckets of ghee. We still have some, but it’s getting low. There are other places we need to go to to pick up certain things, so we will have at least one more trip to the city after main pay comes in. Probably two, before we’re set for the month. Which reminds me: also in the mail, my husband got letters from Sun Life. One to confirm that yes, he’s still disabled, and the other to confirm, yes, he’s still getting disability payments! So we’re confirmed to have money for another year.
Thank God for private health insurance!!!
I also plan to pick up more meat and eggs from local homesteaders. We’ll have to see what the budget is like after the vet visit on Sunday, before we can decide how much we’re getting. Yes, we still have plenty of meat in the freezer, but if I’m going to be going more carnivore, I want to make sure to have more, so we don’t run out too quickly.
Tomorrow, I’m going into town to pick up my new prescriptions, including the new pain killer that I’ll be trying for 2 weeks, to see how it does for my OA. That will be a good time to swing by the local grocery store and refill a couple of water jugs, and one of my daughters will be coming along to do some of their own shopping, as well. I was hoping to pick up some seafood for them (my husband and I are not big on seafood at all), but it was so bloody expensive!!
You know, I think I saw some fishing rods in the pump shack, and there’s a net in the garage. The girls are interested in taking up fishing. It would be handy if these were in useable shape!
We shall see. 😁
So that’s one big, stocking up shopping trip done!
Wow, did the temperatures sure drop overnight! Especially with the wind chill.
It does make for pretty sun dogs, though.
I honestly can’t remember if I’ve ever seen rainbow sun dogs before, other than in photographs! The colours were much brighter in real life.
As I write this, we’re at -19C/-2F, with a wind chill of -31C/-24F. It’s actually gotten colder from when I was doing my rounds this morning! It was “only” -16C/3F with a wind chill of -25C/13F Our high for this afternoon is supposed to be -16C/3F with a wind chill of -29C/-20F If I could avoid heading to the city today, I would, but it’s supposed to get colder over the next few days, so this is my window.
The kitties are taking full advantage of the sun room, including this little shrimp.
The photo sucks because I was taking it through a screen window. This tortie has been named Phantom by the girls, because it has a black “mask” over one eye. She was so solidly asleep that, not only was I able to go into the room and set out kibble in various containers in the sun room, I was able to actually PET HER!!!! Just for a few moments before she woke up, saw I was touching her and ran off. Even then, she only ran as far as the door, then stopped to look at me, until I went over to untie it so I could do the outside kibble trays.
It would make life so much easier if we could socialize more of the females. I don’t like the idea of having to trap them, as that would make them even more distrustful of us. Still, it’s better than having so many litters of kittens again!!!
I was so happy to see Rosencrantz in the sun room!
It’s been so long since I’ve seen her, I was starting to wonder if she was coming back at all. She’s looking pretty thicksome, so wherever she’s been for the past month or so, she’s been well fed!
We’ve been talking to the Cat Lady about setting up traps to catch female yard cats for spays. Rosencrantz is almost friendly enough that we might… maybe… be able to get her into a carrier. She did not look like a happy mama. Last year, she had kittens insanely early, was clearly coming to me for help, but I couldn’t get to where she had them in the junk pile. Everything was too frozen to the ground, and they clearly died soon after. Once things thawed out, we never did try to get to that spot. I was just not ready to see if there was anything left of them. Then she had another litter – 3 grey and whites, Pinky and a tortoise shell – also in the junk pile, but somewhere in a different spot. She became increasingly hissy and snarly when I tried to pet her. Her behaviour actually reminded me of how Butterscotch used to be, and Butterscotch is her mother. When Butterscotch was spayed, her uterus was in really bad shape, but when Cabbages was done, she had a twisted uterus, too, and she was only 2 yrs old. Cabbages was from Butterscotch’s second litter, the summer we brought her and Beep Beep into the basement to have their babies, and we discovered she was killing off her first litter because she wanted out so badly. I suspect there may be a genetic defect in Butterscotch’s line.
Here’s hoping we’ll be able to start getting that done in the time window, where it’s warm enough to safely trap them and not fear they’d freeze before the trap got checked, but before the ladies start going into heat!
Also, the Cat Lady messaged me on the 1 year anniversary since they took in Cabbages! Where did that year go? Cabbages is doing so well, now. It’s quite the miracle! She’s living the high life, getting fed salmon and chicken so much, she turns her nose up at cat food. 😄
I’m so glad we found the Cat Lady. She and her family are just amazing!
When checking on the seed starts in the big aquarium greenhouse, I’m usually greeted by this…
Beep Beep absolutely LOVES those aquarium lights. They are nice and warm, and I think she really appreciates that, after all her winters outdoors!
Also, isn’t that the most adorable tongue blep? 😂
The down side, she rolls around so much, she starts pushing the one raised light fixture around. I’ve even found it with one end pushed right off the tank! The other light lies flush on the surface, so the frame of the wire mesh covers holds it in place.
In other things…
This afternoon, my husband and I had our rescheduled joint doctor’s appointment. When the phone range this morning, my immediate thought was that it was going to be rescheduled again! It turned out to be someone from home care doing his annual follow up call. The only thing we have from home care is my husband’s hospital bed, so most of the call was to make sure our postal and physical address was still the same.
My husband and I left very early for the appointment. It’s a good thing we did start heading out so early! I went out ahead to get my husband’s walker through the sun room doors (we need to find threshold ramps, but of the ones I looked at, they all seem to be the wrong height), then got the van set up and backed out of the garage a bit. Normally, I would have driven the van right to the house, but we haven’t been able to clear such a large area of snow. I had made sure the path to the garage was wide enough for the walker, and as clear of snow as possible, but anything beyond where there are actual sidewalk blocks will always be a bit rough on the wheels.
I did wonder, though, when I saw my husband hobbling to the van, without his walker.
It turned out he left through the main doors, not the sun room (which would have avoided stairs). He was expecting the walker to be at the main doors, and when he didn’t see it, he just kept going to the van!
When I saw him, I told him I’d go bring the walker, and he was all confused until I pointed out where it was sitting (the cats love the padded seat on that thing!). He went back to get it himself. I remembered just in time to ask if he had his wallet, with his health care card. Nope! He completely forgot! So I dashed inside to get that. By the time we were on the road, it was about 15 minutes later than I had been shooting for, but that is exactly why I factor in so much extra time!
The drive out was very rough on him. Especially the half mile or so of gravel road, just before the highway. It was a complete washboard, and there was no way to avoid it. The best I could do was slow down a bit, but all that did was give him slightly less pain for a longer time. Even on the highway, every now and then there would be a rough spot there was no way to avoid. He spent most of the time doing breathing exercises and meditation to help control the pain (yes, he was on painkillers), and the nausea that came with it.
We made a short stop to pick up a bit of gas and breakfast, which I had also factored in to my timeline, and got to the clinic about forty minutes before our appointment.
The clinic doors had signs saying, it’s cold and flu season, wear a mask! As if that ever made a difference. 🙄 We weren’t wearing any when we came in, and they didn’t say anything, but my husband still asked about wearing one. I think he felt other patients were having a problem with it, though the staff certainly didn’t. They know full well how useless they are. I couldn’t find the Mingle Masks that used to be in our van – I think my daughter might have thrown them out while cleaning out the front of the van, when we thought we’d be able to use it as a trade in – but I’d grabbed the last ones from the box we’d bought several years ago. It’s been so long, my husband forgot how to wear them! 😄
He then settled in for what he expected to be a long and painful wait, only for us to be called in just a few minutes later! My husband didn’t have a lot to cover. We started the paperwork to get a disabled parking permit, which now has to be done online with a doctor. The last time we did it, several years ago, we weren’t sure how it was done in this province, and left the paperwork with the doctor, thinking they had to send it in. Turns out, that’s not how it works here. After the doctor did the online paperwork and printed it out, there was a part for me to fill out as the emergency contact person, then details my husband had to include and sign for. Then it went to the reception desk, where we had to pay a fee to the doctor – cash or check only, and I thankfully had our checkbook – which was $30. Then we get the paperwork back and have to mail it out to a central office, along with a check for $15, for the placard to be mailed back to us. The alternative would be to drive to the city, find the place, then pay for and pick up the placard there.
In the province we lived in before, it was all covered. Even the doctor was able to waive the paperwork fee. All we had to do was bring a prescription to anywhere that did vehicle license and registration, and we’d get a placard immediately.
My husband rarely goes anywhere, but being able to park closer when he does would be a huge improvement for him.
After my husband left to do his bloodwork, I had my own appointment. I am now OFF that injection that was doing such nasty things to my insides. My husband is on the same injection for something else, and his dose got increased, so I’ll just give my fresh new refill to him. I’m now back on the medication I was on before that had no side effects with me, and worked just fine.
I also talked to him about whether or not it was time for me to apply for disability myself, because of the osteoarthritis. The last time I saw him, I got X-rays of my hands, and they only showed the beginnings of arthritis. I’m also not on any prescriptions for arthritis, so I simply wouldn’t be considered “disabled” enough to qualify for CPP Disability.
The hands are just the newest thing; my hips, knees and feet have been bothering me for a very long time. I even told him, I have no problem doing big things, like wielding a chain saw or pushing wheelbarrows around, but I need to use the bath chair to take a shower, I can’t take a bath, I struggle to do stairs, and can barely open a jar, because I’ve lost so much grip strength due to pain in my finger joints.
We talked about the painkillers I’m on now, which is just extra strength acetaminophen that I take morning and evening, and it’s not really cutting it anymore. So he gave me a prescription to try for 2 weeks, also taken morning and evening, to see how it works for me. That got faxed to the pharmacy, so I’ll be able to get that filled for the weekend, when I’ll be able to go into town to pick it up.
And we were done. I didn’t even get a requisition for bloodwork. I went to the lab to find the technician was still trying to find a vein in my husband’s arm and asked him about the parking permit application. It was at the reception desk, so I was able to write a check for that. By the time he was done and we were on our way home, we still had 10 minutes before our joint appointments were scheduled to start!
I love that when we come in early at this clinic, we almost always get seen early, too!
My husband was more than happy to get home, though that last push through the snowy paths with his walker was a lot more difficult than the first time around. He ended up going in through the main doors rather than fight through that last bit of snowy path to the sun room, and I took care of putting the walker away. Which certainly startled quite a few cats when I banged and rattled through the door with it! 😄 While we are at a relatively mild -9C/16F right now, the wind chill is supposedly -19C/-2F. I say “supposedly”, because we have been getting some nasty gusts of wind that make it feel even colder. The cats are quite enjoying the shelter of the sun room, that’s for sure!
Tomorrow, we’re supposed to have a high of -14C/7F and, if all goes to plan, that’s when I’ll be heading to the city for our Costco trip. After tomorrow, temperatures are supposed to drop to a high of -22C/-8F and stay chilly for a while, though the long range forecasts are not showing temperatures as cold as they did when I last checked them.
The weather app that came with my desktop provides interesting extra information, including average and record highs and low. The 30 year record high for today was 3C/37F, back in 2006 – but the record low in 1997 was -36C/-33F! I’m quite happy with a mere -9C/16F right now, even with the wind chill!
This winter has been the mildest – and closest to average – winter we’ve had since moving out here! I’m really, really appreciating it!