Monday, May 04, 2015

Busy Sunday

Yesterday was Terry's birthday. We celebrated by taking a nice, long ride into New Jersey to take part in a surprise anniversary party for my sister and her husband. Ruthann and Al were wed some 40 years ago April 26th.

It was a long day!

We left the Aerie around 10 AM, stopped at a Perkins in Buckhorn for brunch, and arrived at my nieces house in Pompton Lakes at 2:45. The party was scheduled for 3 PM.

Ruthann and Al arrived on time and were properly surprised. We enjoyed seeing everyone especially the four little girls (age 2 to almost 5) two of whom are Ruthann's and Al's grandchildren.

The SILs manned the grill and produced a nice barbecue meal including the normal hot dogs and hamburgers as well as some sausage and peppers, kielbasi, and a chicken shishkebab, we also had some cake and ice cream.

Al, Ruthann and Samantha (Grandma's little helper)

The Cake


Sis and her hubby opened their presents (with some help) before we hit the road for home at 6 PM.

Four hours later we pulled into the driveway at 10 PM--a full 12 hours after we left.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Saturday Mornings Are for Birding

This morning's bird walk at Hills Creek State Park yielded several FOYs (First of the Year). The Eastern Towhee I've seen the last couple of days at home, but the Yellow Warbler, Northern Parula, and Brown Creeper were all new. We also got to see a Fox and three kits get flushed from behind one of the bluebird houses near the amphitheater and, later, saw the adult with a rabbit heading back.

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Mallard
Common Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Wild Turkey
Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Osprey
Bald Eagle
Spotted Sandpiper
Ring-billed Gull
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Tree Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
House Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Gray Catbird
European Starling
Northern Parula
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Palm Warbler
Pine Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch

After we broke up, I went over to The Muck hoping to get some pictures from the blind. I stayed only 45 minutes but got to see my first Common Gallinule along with a Green Heron. Neither stayed around long enough for me to put down my binoculars and get the camera into action.

Canada Goose
Mallard
Red-winged Blackbird
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Common Gallinule

All in all a very good morning.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Out and About: Birding and Gardening

Got out and got active today...finally.

Started the day out at Hills Creek State Park with the weekly bird walk sponsored by the Tiadaghton Audubon Society. It was cool (35 degrees at 7:45 AM) but sunny (it got up to 45 degrees by 10:15 AM) and only a mild breeze blowing. We had seven folks show up and had a nice long walk (almost 2 miles) starting at the overflow parking area and going up to the amphitheater and on into the woods at the north end of the lake.

Things were quiet on the lake with only a few ducks, mergansers and grebes on the water. The shoreline was a different matter as there were hordes of warblers (mostly Yellow-rumped) and swallows (mostly Tree Swallows but others as well).

Here's the full list of species we saw today.



Canada Goose
Wood Duck 
Mallard 
Ring-necked Duck
Bufflehead
Common Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Pied-billed Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Osprey
Cooper's Hawk
Bald Eagle
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay
American Crow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Blackburnian Warbler
Palm Warbler
Pine Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
American Goldfinch


******

After lunch, I grabbed a shovel and went out to turn the gardens over. I worked slow but steadily and finished four of the five garden plots. Almost ever shovel of soil turned over exposed three or four earthworms. I'll have no trouble obtaining bait when I decide to go fishing! 

With the soil turned, I'll let it dry a bit before spend time with the rototiller tomorrow afternoon to break up the clods of clay that  forms much of our soil despite the bags and bags of garden soil and peat moss I've added. I still have to get down to the store to pick up the snap pea, beet and radish seeds as well as onion sets. 

For now, however, I'll relax and watch the Mets do to the Yankees what the Yankees did to the Mets last night.

Monday I take the Tundra to get repaired. Tuesday, I got to the urologist to have the stent removed. Wednesday, If the weather permits, I'll get those seeds and sets in the ground.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Chelsea Rose Faber

Born on Monday night April 20th at 11:17 PM (PDT).



She took her sweet time arriving. Sandy entered the hospital on Saturday and they proceeded to induce labor. Saturday turned into Sunday and Sunday into Monday. While Chelsea got into position, she could not get her (very large) head to move through the birth canal. Sandy then underwent a C-section to deliver this beautiful little (?) 8.39 pound 21 1/2 inch bundle.

All are doing well and are scheduled to head for home Thursday.

Friday, April 17, 2015

April...You Can Keep It!



A couple of most interesting weeks.

I would have been posting about my 12th week post back surgery, but other issues have arisen that have placed recovery from that operation on the back burner. So I'm going to halt those reports for the latest news.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I broke out in a fever and chills on Tuesday, April 7th. The chills stopped and the fever subsided somewhat on Wednesday into Thursday morning. They both returned Thursday afternoon along with some pain in my right back/side. I thought the pain was muscular. I was to be proven wrong.

I broke out in night sweats on Friday and again Saturday with my temperature spiking around 103.5 degrees. Idiot that I am, I insisted in trying to tough it out until Monday morning when I could go to the walk-in clinic in Mansfield. Someone had other plans, however.

Sunday morning just as Terry returned from Church, I virtually collapsed being unable to breath or even take more than two or three steps without gasping for breath. Terry fired up the Jeep and hauled my ass over to Troy Community Hospital’s ER. By the time we arrived (about a 15 mile drive) my breathing had returned to normal but the fever and pain were letting themselves take control.

A quick examination in ER and a CATscan proved I was suffering from both a urinary bladder infection and a 5mm kidney stone that was wedged in my ureter (the tube from the kidney to the bladder). I was assigned a room and begun on a regimen of IV antibiotics, painkillers, and fluids—lots of fluids.

I would stay in Troy Community Hospital for only a couple of days before they sent me over to Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre. (It’s where I had my back surgery in January.) Troy doesn’t have a urologist on staff nor does it have an OR with the facilities of Robert Packer. I arrived at RP late on Tuesday afternoon, was allowed one final meal before being shut down at midnight so I could go into the OR on Wednesday to have the stone removed and a stent placed in the ureter. Only the IV fluids, antibiotics and painkillers were allowed after the witching hour.

Being low man on the totem pole (i.e. having a non-life threatening condition and being a nonscheduled, last minute addition to the roster) I waited all day with nothing but the IV drips going for the call which finally arrived around 3:30 PM. Even that was a perfunctory, “They’re calling for you in the OR.” Since I hadn’t had a meeting with the surgeon, and had never met the guy before, I said, “Hang on a minute! I need to see this guy first and talk about what the heck he’s going to do before I go under.” So I had to wait a bit longer for him to show up and introduce himself and explain the procedure and implications.

Eventually I did get to see him and agreed to proceed. I got wheeled down to the OR, met the anesthesiologist and the rest of the crew, had the stone removed and the stent inserted. Then back to my room and a nice slice of pizza and fruit smoothie that Terry picked up at the cafeteria for me.
The next morning, Thursday, I got some more IV antibiotics and pain killers before getting the okay to go home.

And that’s where things stand now. The back pain I had been suffering has been replaced by some discomfort when I urinate in both the kidney and bladder but that should go away when the stent is removed on the 28th. I hope. Then I can get back to recovering from the back surgery. I hope.  Meanwhile, some oral antibiotics and pain killers have been prescribed. The fat lady hasn’t sung yet, but her appearance has been booked.

I have to say that while there was an awful lot of hurry-up-and-wait involved at both Troy Community and Robert Packer, the people themselves were extremely pleasant to deal with. I think the nurses were happy enough to deal with me as well. I was pretty much independent (except for the damn IV stand that went wherever I needed to go) and demanded little in the way of care (except when the IV bags were empty and needed replacement).

Sandwiched in all this were four (4!) bouts of auto problems. The Tundra got its windshield replaced and is awaiting parts for a repair (secondary air pump?) as is the Aveo. The Jeep dealer had all the parts needed to fix a sensor and cracked ring. None of the problems rendered the vehicles inoperable, which was good, but needed/need to get repaired. They were all the result of either being stored for the winter (Aveo), inactive for a long period of time (Tundra had to sit while I recovered from back surgery) or dealing with the usual early mud season where the road might be a quagmire one day and frozen into a rutted mess the next morning.  

And the cats all had to go to the vet for their booster shots and exams. I did two on my own and then Terry had the privilege of doing two by herself while I was in hospital. She got the easy ones (Chester and Julie).

I think I would like a do-over on April 2015. Except for the Mets. They can keep on doing what they are doing. (Currently 7-3, 1st in the NL East.) But, please get some folks healthy ASAP.

Oh yeah, almost forgot: I’m waiting to become a grandfather as Rick and Sandy will be delivering Chelsea Rose some time in the week ahead.