Thursday, August 27, 2009

An Older Fall

As I was writing my last blog, I mentioned an incident that happened at work that I still cringe at when remembering.

Two years ago April/Mayish timeframe, I was sitting at work and the fire alarm sounded. Not to be distressed, this was just a drill. I wonder about the point of these work disaster "drills" we have at the airplane factory. They announce them over the PA speaker days in advance. They post signs on all the doors so coming and going, you'll know a drill is planned and exactly what day and time it is to occur. We receive emails, etc. and if the weather should become inclement on drill day, so as not to confuse us any, they just cancel the drill. Who wants to go outside for a fire drill during the rain. And have a tornado drill when storms are in the area?---won't happen. My co-workers might confuse a drill for the real thing and chaos would ensue (or so the powers that be think).

Anyway, the fire drill alarm sounded so like the sheep we all are, we started heading out the door to our designated meeting spots in the parking lot. Looking forward to some time outside on a beautiful sunny morning, we all moved to the exit doors yelling to friends and just chatting away (reminescent of high school hallways between classes). No other time is our entire building on the move at the same time; about 2000 of us are in the building, so it is general pandemonium.

Our parking lot has been recently asphalted and is divided into various sections for reserved parking (upper management), handicapped spots in several areas by the various entrance doors, visitor parking, etc. For the most part, the lot is labeled and marked accordingly except for one particular area in the middle, right past the handicapped parking and before the visitor parking, there is an elevated area that resembles a sidewalk--a walkway between these two parking areas. What makes it different from a sidewalk is the lack of curbs. It gradually rises on one side and then sort of drops off on the the other side.

Visitors have complained about stumbling over this area coming from their lot and a co-worker of mine fell there a few years ago during bad weather, breaking his knee. But nothing was ever done about it. When walking from the parking lot to the building, the elevated area is painted a bright yellow to call attention to it. When walking from the building to the parking, there is no attention whatsoever called to the drop off.

Can you see where I'm going with this story. Yes, as I was walking out for my fire drill, chatting and visiting with my co-workers, not paying any attention whatsoever to where I'm walking--definitely not looking down. I walked right up on the elevated walk and walked right off where my ankle just turned completely sideways and down I went. In the middle of the morning, in front of about 2000 of my co-workers. Down on the ground. Of course, everyone hurries to my side. I was in horrible pain and just wanted to sit there a few minutes before trying to get up, thinking I would be OK with a short breather.

However, during our fire drills, we also have firemen, paramedics, ambulances, etc. on site and immediately two paramedics who had seen my stumble, came running with their black medical bags. I assured them I would be fine and should be able to stand in a minute or two when the pain subsided. They explained to me that I was on company property, during a company event, and my fall had been witnessed by untold number of people (yeah, I didn't need to be reminded about that!), and so they had no choice, nor did I, except to bring the stretcher, load me into the ambulance, and take me to the Medical building to get checked out. By this time my supervisor was on also on hand telling me not to argue, just go and get checked out.

So they loaded me onto a stretcher and like the Queen of Sheeba (I wasn't about to lay down on the stretcher, I sat up), I was toted across the parking lot to the ambulance (would they have thought about bringing the ambulance to me....NO).

Anyway, I was still in considerable pain and in addition, had skinned my knee when I fell and it was also bleeding. My handlers and I arrived at the ambulance. They had given me an ice bag for my ankle and another one for my knee so I was sitting up on the stretcher holding ice bags on the two injuries and being lifted into the back of the ambulance. I think there was an issue with me sitting up on the stretcher and them misjudging the space which resulted into them ramming my head into the top of the ambulance, just about knocking me off the stretcher STILL IN VIEW OF THE AUDIENCE OF MY PEERS IN THE PARKING LOT. They finally got me into the ambulance, gave me a third ice bag for my head and with me begging them to not use any lights and sirens, drove me to the Medical building.

To end this long story, I had a severe sprain (deep bone bruise), and had a cast of some sort on for several weeks, on crutches for six weeks, P.T. several times a week for six weeks but I finally healed.

Also, now in the parking lot between the visitor and handicapped area where the asphalt is elevated is a very decorative, metal, ornamental railway on both sides of the elevation. Resembles a bridge railing over a babbling brook in a garden somewhere. It definitely calls attention to the elevation now, prevents any stumbles over this area, and yes, EVERYONE knows the reason for the (Grammy) Memorial Walkway. I'm sure the story will be told and retold through the generations of workers at the airplane factory when someone asks, "hey, what's with that bridge-thing in the parking lot".

You can just call me Clutz!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Humpty Dumpty CRACKED

Another long absence but this time I have a valid reason, I fell......down the stairs....and.....cracked my pelvis in the back near my tailbone (which I originally thought I broke).

Let me introduce myself. Hello, I am Grammy THE CLUTZ. Plain and simple. I fall alot. They built my own little fenced walkway at work after one fall---I'll go into that more later. But back to this incident.

We got some pretty heavy storms and sideways rain on Monday afternoon and after it was finished our back porch was pretty water covered and slippery. I know it gets real slippery when wet. We were oh so careful this past winter. Papa said it has to do with my sealing it and the water pools on top.

Anyway, as I've mentioned in a previous post about my Snoopy Diva refusing to walk on wet surfaces---it had rained, therefore, she was saying no thanks to going out and using the bathroom. So I usually walk out in the yard with her and sometimes that entices her to join me--you know how we women like to potty together.

So to kill two birds with one stone, I picked up a handful of newspapers and cardboard boxes to take the recycle can, slipped Papa's flip flops on (they were handy right there by the door--albeit about 3 sizes larger than I usually wear), and I stepped on the rain-slick porch. I took about two steps and thought to myself, boy it's slippery out here, I may need to dump these shoes and the next thing that happened I was going down the steps and not under the power of my legs AND was hitting HARD on those wooden steps and landed on the concrete sidewalk at the bottom. Since my arms were full with recycling, I had no way to brace myself or catch my fall. It was important, don't you know, to maintain my grip on that PAPER.

Immediately I realized, I broke both legs, my arm, my back and my butt because everything was screaming at once. I was yelling to Papa for help, not to mention the screaming that occurred during the fall but was having no luck rousing him. He had went to the basement to watch a movie and had the home theatre blasting, just like in a movie theatre, and, of course, could not hear a bomb drop in the yard let alone my cries for help.

During all this, Snoopy is still at the top of the stairs giving me looks that said, see I told you no good could come of walking on the wet. Yes, oh wise canine, I'll never pressure you again.

I managed to crawl back up the stairs and into the back door and finally Papa heard my yelling and came running. Immediately my butt swelled on one side and turned black but we determined that the rest of my limbs were unbroken. I was just going to be black and blue and sore the next day.

I made a few phone calls later when things calmed down and determined if it was my tailbone that I had broken, that I was SOL because they don't do anything for such a break. Since I had ample supply of pain pills and muscle relaxers on hand due to my neck (which was screaming as well), I figured, I'd take some of those and call it a day.

Tuesday, I could hardly move. Couldn't get out of bed and when I finally did that, could hardly walk and sitting in a chair was out of the question. Let alone a 9 1/2 hour day which are my Tuesdays at work. So I called into work to let my boss know the situation and I went and laid down. My entire left cheek continued to swell and blacken as the day progressed and I finally put a call into the doctor who couldn't see me until Wednesday afternoon but if the swelling got out of hand, head to the ER.

What, pray tell, was out of hand? Papa was laughing when I was upright because one side was twice the size of the other. He kept saying, I can't believe how obvious that is through your pants.

I made it through Wednesday with things mostly "in hand". When appointment time neared, I grabbed a few pillows and got into the car---excruciating pain just getting in the car. Made my nest as best as I could and started slowly down the street at about 10 mph. I knew I was in trouble and I hadn't gotten off our street.

SOMEHOW I made it onto the highway and to the doctor's office without dying in a fiery car accident. Endured the office visit, x-rays and blood work (all standing) and diagnosis was a crack in the pelvis area to the left of my tailbone. Healing time about 2-6 weeks, since it's in the back, we'll treat it the same as a tailbone break and DO NOTHING. He did give me a strong anti-inflamatory for about 3 weeks and a long Vicatin prescription for pain and "call if you need more." Said the stiller I was, the better/faster I would heal and maybe by Monday I could sit in a chair.'s Saturday now and I'm up to about 45 minutes in a chair and I'm going to drive myself to the Taco Bell drivethrough for lunch......maybe.

So I hurt and I'M BORED. I've read, watched movies, caught up on some old VHS tapes, slept (alot), talked and texted on the phone but I'm ready to be out and about again. I was up and doing alot yesterday and just about couldn't get out of bed this morning. Think I did too much. But that won't stop me. NO siree. This Humpty will definity be put back together again AND SOON.

In closing, I was trying to photograph my "injury" last night so you couldn't tell it was a behind (did I mention I was bored) and it didn't work so well, so I'll leave you with this tiny tidbit of a view.

and to Lana and Mr. Fun, thanks for the pretties.

A cracked Grammy.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I didn't want you to think I wasn't having ANY fun this summer. It's not all been a summer of packing, moving, and rehabbing. Although that's been a big part of it. There has been some fun.

I started off the summer trying to attend every show of our outdoor theatre. Called the Muny, it is located in Forest Park within the STL city limits and where the 1904 World's Fair was held. Lots of history in this park and it is just beautiful and very, very big.

The Muny is unique in that besides the ticketed seats, they offer several thousand "free seats". You just have to get there early, stand in line, and grab your seat when the gates open. This works our quite nicely because if for some reason you can't go on a particular night or the weather turns bad, etc. you just blow off the night, no money lost on a ticket. Getting there early, you have to endure the last hour or so of hot sun beating down on you, but once the sun goes does, it cools off, and the show starts.

I orginally tried to organize my co-workers--the ladies--for the Muny shows but for the most part it was just me and one work friend---let's call her Mizzou Mom.

Our first hurdle was getting to Forest Park with the surrounding highway being closed (construction on it for two years and we're mid year two right now). But we armed ourselves with maps and found our way in and to the theatre. This was a two part process as this park is HUGE, so not only do you have to get TO the park, you have to manage to get to the theatre once INSIDE the park and I think the signage inside the park leaves alot to be desired.

Our first show in early June was 42nd Street---never before seen---thoroughly enjoyed although the temp was in the upper 90's (not including the STL humidity). I commented when I stood for the National Anthem while wearing light colored capris, that I hoped everyone behind me didn't think I had an accident because my clothes were soaked through and through. Mizzou Mom assured me that everyone looked the same, not to worry, and it would be dark soon.

Like I said, this show was very enjoyable. Lots of tap dancing, singing, and a good storyline to boot. Mizzou Mom and I had both came to the show different ways and left different ways but there were lessons learned that we were going to improve on for the next show. She was convinced her way rocked and I agreed to try it the next week. Another lesson learned---don't be afraid to SPEAK UP AND LOUDLY WHEN THE PERSON IN FRONT OF YOU OPENS AN UMBRELLA FOR SUN PROTECTION and blocks your view all around not to mention pokes you in the head---who brings a GOLF UMBRELLA for two for sun protection in a cramped area.

The following week, we saw Annie. Another never before seen (believe that or not) but for some reason, I know the words to "Tomorrow". This show used alot of extras (children) from the STL area, so the show was packed (and we attended all the shows on weeknights, can't imagine the weekend shows). Lots of family and friends of the extras. Weather was not quite as hot this night. And I did indeed enjoy the show. Annie lessons learned: they need more women's restrooms and Mizzou Mom's route does indeed rock and following her out was a piece of cake---making a left turn at the no left turn sign notwithstanding.

Next up was Meet Me In St. Louis. I think this was my favorite show of the season. Beautiful weather, beautiful night, good show---another very crowded show and an usher told us this was a favorite in STL. Of course it is. Also, being right after the 4th of July, there were fireworks at the end of the show. Since with all the packing and moving we did in July, Papa and I didn't get to see any fireworks display, this satisfied my fireworks viewing for the year. Lessons learned: via usher---the women's restoom on the sides of the theatre are much larger, hence the lines move faster AND Mizzou Mom found out where the programs were kept before the shows---free seat patrons don't receive programs, only the ticketed guests get these. But Mizzou Mom is such a rebel,,,,,first illegal left turns and now pilfering programs for us but why should they discriminate against free seaters and not offer them a program.

Negative lesson learned....DO NOT SEAT IN ROW ONE AGAINST THE FENCING between paid and free seats. Although, the view is much better, there is half the leg room as in the other rows and after we sat down for a few minutes, we started looking around for better options but the place was filling up fast and we couldn't move. We couldn't move pretty much the entire show. I had visions of not being able to use my legs when the show was over and I had to get up and walk. But someway, somehow, I was able to stand up and walk to the car after the show.

So it's mid-summer by this time and this leads me to my other summer fun activity that I've been participating in for some months now (actually several years overall, but the new season starts in April).

Horse Hookey. From April-September there is live horse racing at a nearby racetrack (Fairmount Park in Collinsville, IL) and several of my co-workers love to take off on Tuesday afternoons and spend time at the racetrack for Horse Hookey. We go about once a month.

They look so studious, don't they---these people take this seriously!! That's Tiny Sun there at the table. We, my co-workers and I, bring our "outside" friends along to these work events. The more the merrier is our motto or you can't have enough new friends.

So anyway our next Muny date also fell on a Horse Hookey date and MM and I thought why not. We started the day at work, rambled over to the racetrack by noon for the afternoon, and then Mizzou Mom and I headed to Forest Park for our next evening theatre performance. We met at the Boathouse restaurant, along the side of a lake and had an early dinner while watching others cruise around the lakes in paddleboats. Finally, we thought why not, let's rent a paddleboat for an hour before we head to the Muny show. We had plenty of time.

Because neither one of us are in the best physical shape and I've only paddleboated ONE time and her ZERO, it took alot out of us. Much harder than we had imagined watching others cruise languidly around the lake. First, we noticed that all the children were required to wear lifejackets BUT not the adults. When we inquired about this, the girl "loading" us on the boat, looked at us amused and said "the water's only about 4 ft. deep, if you fall out of the boat, just stand up."

Ok then, feeling much safer, we took off paddling, furiously and got about 100 feet out before our first break had to happen as we were both panting from our exertion. After a short rest, we took off again at a more moderate rate and immediately beached ourselves on a sandbar. Yeah, we needed to work a little more on our steering technique. And sure enough the water was quite shallow because in order to unbeach ourself, I had to drop my foot out of the boat and push us off the sandbar.

But we were learning by great leaps and bounds. We paddled around the various tributaries for about 30 minutes, turned around, and managed to get ourself back to the boat dock right on time without either of us having a heart attack OR falling out of the boat.

Then to the Muny for that night's show. Godspell, my least favorite of this season and that's about all I'll say about that. It might not have been the show. It was a sparse crowd though and we had good weather that evening. But for me, after a full day's activity (with the paddleboating pretty much zapping my last bit of energy), I really was ready for the day to come to an end. So I bugged out at the intermission and headed to my awaiting bed. Chatting later with Mizzou Mom, she agreed that she didn't care for that show as much either and the second half didn't improve much from the first half.

Next, we were scheduled for The Music Man. I was really looking forward to this show but alas, the night of the show, severe thunderstorms pounded the area right about the time we were supposed to be leaving for the park. After consulting with the Weather Station, it looked liked this was to be the situation for most of the evening so we bagged the show. See, utilizing the free seat system paid off for us.

Up next was Camelot and I'll rate this number two after Meet Me in St. Louis or maybe tied for second with 42nd Street. Very enjoyable show, very enjoyable night. We knew where to sit, how to utilize the intermission to the best of our ability, and how to leave the park in a very timely manner against the crowd. Perfect overall.

The last show of the season was Hairspray and neither me nor Mizzou Mom could find a good date to go to this. Both our schedules were crammed full this last week and since the shows only run 7 days, it limits us. So again, kudos for the free seat system!

So see, Grammy has been having a little bit of fun this summer and getting her some culture!!

Cultured Grammy signing off

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Ok, so we've moved over to Massey Ponds and now the real work begins. So far we've finished three bedrooms about 95%---that 5% though literally drives me crazy. I want to finish something 100% but it doesn't seem to bother Papa to leave things hanging----INDEFINITELY.

The bathroom is also running at about 90%. Showers can be taken (and it's all decorated with new carpets and curtains and accessories but there is an issue with the toilet and a leak and we're not sure how to fix this. Papa thinks he's cracked it somewhere but after a trip to Lowes's yesterday, we may have a solution. Cross those fingers.

Also, the cabinet. We had two full-size bathrooms at Massey Gardens and have had to downsize to one full-size bathroom. So I purchased a nice cabinet and additional floor shelves and after pitching alot of excess, we are seeming to fit into our one bathroom. Anyway, Papa was putting together the cabinet at the city house one day while DD was dropping off the P's and she said she called his attention to something and he subsequently blew her off.

On the following Friday, I was unloading the cabinet from the car and noticed something was off. The end cap was on the wrong end OR the door was installed upside down. When it stood right side up, the finished end cap was on the bottom but when the finished end cap was on the top, the door was upside down. I called Papa who insisted he followed the directions and all was well, "quit complaining." I mentioned this to DD on a phone call later, and she told me she brought this to his attention the previous Wednesday when he was building it and he "blew her off."

When Papa arrived at the house on Friday night, he went to look at the cabinet and kept assuring me this is what the directions told him to response, "Seriously, the directions told you this is what it was supposed to look like?" He also went on to say, he didn't see anything wrong with the door. Again, "Seriously, the handle is at the bottom of the cabinet.?" (I will have to remember to take a picture of this cabinet next weekend.) As promised:

Since I'm of the "pick you battles" mindset these days (moving is hard on relationships), I told him to disregard it and I can live with how it looks. About an hour later, he found me and said "I think I see what you're talking about...why don't you empty the cabinet and I'll try to fix it." I'm also of the "Let's get this crap finished already" mindset these days and told him, I've moved on, we'll worry with it later on when we have spare time to fine-tune things. So until we "fix this", if ever you visit Massey Ponds, just be patient with him.

Yesterday we were heavily into staining the kitchen cabinets. Papa bought a new countertop and underneath cabinets in unfinished wood and was hoping I could stain to match the hanging cabinets. I worked on these for about 8 hours and got them quite beautiful in my opinion (shoot, I really do need to work on before and after pictures). I worked on Papa verbally for those 8 hours to let me paint the doors of the hanging cabinets a pretty glossy pine green because I really didn't think I could match them to the underneath cabinets. The underneath cabinets turned out much darker than the hanging cabinets in the end BUT. I grabbed my can of stain and brush and went to work staining the hanging cabinets and by george, they all match now!

Next weekend, I just need to apply the polyurethane to seal it all and Papa can attach the countertop and put the end cap on that (hopefully the correct way!), build the end "box" for the other end and we'll be in the business of filling the rest of the kitchen cabinets and emptying the kitchen of all those boxes finally.

Then it's on to painting.

So last night when I finally got back home to the city late in the evening. I'm warming up some cold pizza and looking forward to a shower and what do I find on PBS? This Old House with Bob Villa. I know how to pour concrete patios now----there's no stopping me.

Rehabbing Grammy

Friday, August 7, 2009

We're All Big Kids Now

Perfect is nearing his big #3 and Precious just passed her #1. It seems like they have both been here for so long but it's really just been a drop in the bucket. They are still both so new. Yet it's hard to remember BP--Before the P's.

Precious graduated this week from her high chair to a booster chair and boy was she proud.

She couldn't wait until it was time for dinner and humored Grammy who was taking constant pictures while we were all sitting together for dinner.

We must be making great strides as even Perfect didn't grouse about the camera flashes going off while he was trying to eat. He was digging them mashed potatoes on Wednesday.

After dinner, Precious wasn't done with her chair.

She was just content to sit in her big chair and participate in what life popped her way----be it corn or crayons.

Yep, they're big kids now.

Nostaligic Grammy.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Poor, poor Snoopy. She just gets herself in a twit over some things and then pays heavily and it crushes my heart watching her. She refuses to let anyone trim her nails. This normally docile doggy turns into a snarling, foaming at the mouth, stranger when someone tries to trim her nails---us, the groomers, her kennel lady, even the vet. So a few years ago, the vet suggested we bring her in, have her tranquilized, and they would trim her nails.

So we tried that a couple of times and believe it or not, she still fought the trimmers while under heavy sedation. But the vet's office was successful. After that the groomer was able to trim her nails a time or two.

Then last year when I took her in for her yearly shots and heartworm check, she fought tooth and nail against having blood taken out of her front leg----similar to how she fights nail trimming. The vet suggested that on her annual visit this year, why don't I bring her in, they'll tranq her, trim her nails, give her the required shots, and draw the blood for the heartworm test all at once.

So that was yesterday. She wasn't allowed food after midnight the night before and so at 5:30 a.m., I swear she is stomping her long-nailed feet on the kitchen floor trying to get my attention while she was standing in front of her food bowl. Repeatedly. Stomp, stomp, stomp.....long glare......stomp, stomp, stomp....long glare. Finally I tried to explain that she wasn't getting breakfast until later but hey, let's go on a car ride instead (oh the trickery).

Well, we were in the city and she sees the vet in the country, so we had a long drive first, stopping at Starbucks halfway to settle down my addictive cravings. Poor dog, was so hungry by this time, she was nosing around the hot coffee trying to get some sort of relief from her hunger.

Then arriving at the vet, she realized what was up and started to get her panic on but I was out the door. When I picked her up 3 hours later, the receptionist met me with, "My Lord, what a Drama Queen that dog is." They were successful in everything but they said she fought and cried vocally and with tears. She is a yellow lab mix and when she gets upset, she actually cries tears and so she has those brown tear tracks down her face (like you see on poodles).

She was ready to go, however, and usually likes to stop in the grass on the side of the building after her vet visits but was quite distressed that it was pouring rain (my fault, it seems). Another of her diva qualities is she refuses to get her feet wet. Hates, absolutely walking on anything wet. So she's shooting me these drug induced glares with tears running down her face and can't even use the bathroom because I'VE CAUSED THE GRASS TO BE WET, in addition to starving her, and making her come to the vet. How much more guilt could I endure.

Oh, it got better on the way hour's drive, and she refused to lay down and sits in the front seat with me, hanging her head with her eyes shut and occasionally her feet starting to slide out from under her. By the time I got her home, I was promising never to make her go through anything like that ever again (but I probably year) and let's just go into the house and have a long nap and some breakfast and all will be better.

I even went to dinner with an old friend, ordered steak (I'm usually the salad and pasta person), and brought home half of it to give to my own diva doggy to make amends again.

She seems fine this morning....Trotting through the house, having her breakfast on time, tail is wagging, all is forgiven.........until next year and she'll be calling me a liar on top of all the other.

Grammy with her own tail tucked in for now.