Monday, December 10, 2007

Winter Weather is Here - The House is Beautiful

(If you're not familiar with Jimmy Buffett, that title will make less sense than it should.)

We went and got the tree last weekend and put it in the stand. It's a nice tree. Our usual frasier fir. Smells great.

Mom is getting better and better while Bart continues to lose weight at an alarming rate. She was up most of the afternoons of the last few days last week ... all afternoon. She's noticing that she's strong enough to do some things that she couldn't do a week or so ago.

Bart is not eating at all anymore. We checked his mouth. His teeth are still there. I bought some Eubanuka Maximum Calorie soft food for "Nutritionally Distressed" cats, and I'm force feeding it to him through a syringe. Still, it's only 1.5 tsp per syringe, and he's only getting 4 or 5 a day. Better than nothing but it won't do the trick in the long run. He's been good company for Mom in the house while we're at work. Hate to see him starve to death. He's going to the vet in the morning. I'm hoping all he needs is his teeth cleaned.

We had ice on friday and friday night, but it was drivable in town. We went to the Unrath's Christmas party and had a great time talking with friends we don't see very often. Their house is always so nice, and they're great hosts. It's a good mix of people. And I had to have a drink of Bob's "shrub" -- which I have taken up making myself. If you want it for Christmas this year you'd better make it now. This was a year old and had cleared nicely.

I put the tree lights on Saturday and I've been tinkering with the Polaroid TV trying to get it to get enough of a signal to get the digital "all weather" channels from our local NBC and ABC affilliates. I had turned the antennas on the roof last weekend and they still worked fine with the Vizio TV, but the ice kind of changed that. I actually went up on the roof Saturday to re-position them to point where they used to... not the smartest thing to do with the roof in the condition it was, but I knew that I could probably easily scrape a path up to the antenna and stay on my hands and knees on the rough, if wet, shingles.

Folks, do not try this at home. I am a trained professional :-/

First I tried throwing salt up there to see if it would just melt me a path. I was up on the ladder slinging salt all the way up to the top of the other side of the house from the deck. But it didn't seem to do much. I went up with the scraper and my Leather Man® tool. If it can't be done with my Leather Man®, it can't be done.

The ice came off in large, flat sheets as I carefully scraped the shingles while not lifting them (cold shingles break easily). And I made it to the top and successfully re-pointed the antennas. Somewhere in there I lost my ice tool and I got to see excactly what would happen to me if I managed to slip and fall on the icy surface. There would be nothing to stop me before I hit the ground, save a good solid thumping by the pine tree on that side of the house on the way down. I probably would have skittered an additional 15 feet down the ice-covered grassy hill in the yard. And on a cold, icy day, there's virtually no one to hear you scream.

Knees and shoe-soles were enough to hold me up going up, but going back down for some reason required more surface area contact, for which I employed my bare hands. I had to stop several times and warm them up under my arms as they got painfully cold. And I had wisely salted the wooden ladder steps and top so I was able to get down safely and ponder the risk I had just taken and just how wise it was. I should've gone in and played "Careful Man" on the guitar... if my fingers would move.

But the IU/Kentucky game looked great in HD for Mom (not that she would have cared, but I do!), who flipped back and forth between that game and the Mizzou/Purdue game. Basketball. It's the Indiana State Religion. Kinda like Texas and Football.

Saturday night we had sleet and freezing rain all night, including "Thunder Sleet". Brian asked if that was some new hard rock band. I said "yes, they do a lot of Christmas songs." There were about two inches of "frozen stuff" all over everything Sunday morning.

I got all of the Christmas decorations down from the attic and then went out and chipped Vicki's car out and took some food Vicki had prepared and a Nativity set over to Brian and Kristin's. They were coming back from Las Vegas last night. Picked up a few things at the store and came home. Vicki was putting up decorations -- something I'm usually more involved in. But it was still up to me to deck the actual hall with the holly garland. We have a good 50 or so feet of it that drapes down one side of the hall, across the front and up the other. It's quite festive. This year Vicki took a string of lights that didn't go on the tree this year (smaller tree) and put it on our separator screen between the breakfast area and the living room before putting the normal garland over it. It added a splash of pizzaz, for sure -- kicked it up a notch, as they say.

We thawed the turkey broth made from the Thanksgiving turkey and added some carrots, corn, celery, and frozen noodles and made a really nice Turkey soup for last night. After that I had some "online" shopping to do, and it was time to clear the cameras's memories. Vicki was pooped and passed out on the couch. Mom rested in bed. And we all turned in for real around 10:30. So none of the cookies I'd planned on baking got done.

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