Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Our Quiet Neighborhood

I sat in the living room of my neighbor's home this morning enjoying the company of Mr. and Mrs. H. my neighbors down the street. We spoke of Mr. H's parents, whose picture was displayed on one of their bric-a-brac lined shelves. His dad was born in the early 1800s - his Mom died when he was 5. That was 82 years ago and he still thinks of her fondly. He said in sweet remembrance - "Oh, Daddy got remarried. She was a nice lady." Mr. H celebrated his 87th birthday last week.

The temperature in the room was sweltering with the help of a space heater placed near the couch. Mr. H sat in his auto-lift chair hooked up to his newly acquired oxygen machine. Over the past few weeks he's undergone surgery for a blocked artery in his neck. His wife "E" is confined to her recliner, yet over the past few weeks, she's taken back the task of meal preparation in their country home. They do have the luxury of a Home Health Aide who comes 5 days a week to help with the daily tasks of bathing and light cleaning of their home. But in times like last week's deep freeze, they're grateful for the neighbors who come to help. "Oh, we can always count on Rick who's there for us 24/7" Mr. H says, delighted to use his up-to-date lingo. "And we're so grateful to folks like your Mom who's such a good friend to us."

For two people who are homebound - they are the most positive, upbeat people I've run across in months. They attribute everything to "God's good grace" and are grateful for every day they have on this planet. Although their view of the world has now been reduced to the landscape they can see through the glass storm door on the front room where we sit, they thank God for all their blessings in this life.

We compared the ages of the folks in the room, my Auntie L taking the lead in years being about to turn 91 this April. Mr. H followed with a close second - but his long-time wife "E" will surpass him in a few weeks when she turns 88. The baby in the room is my Mother who, at 85, is the youngest, not counting me.

When the conversation lagged for a moment, I thought it was a good time to introduce them all to the new technology I carried in my purse, a Smart Phone.  Although I'm an amateur at using it, they were absolutely amazed when I pulled up a Google Map and it showed an arial view of our exact location, the curve of the street and the little brown house where we sat.  I used my index finger to scroll over a couple of streets to show them my house - the garage where our red truck could be seen and the white Blazer I recently traded in was visible in our driveway.

I'll never forget the emphatic "Amazing - absolutely Amazing" words he used to describe this new phenomenon - a 4G phone. They'd never seen anything like it. His ebulient smile and enthusiasm was absolutely Amazing to me. What a long way we've come in this world we live in.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Wintry Conditions in the Dallas Metroplex

Our venture out yesterday after being cooped up for five days of below freezing weather was a much needed change of view. Here's what the local grocery store looked like on the Saturday before SuperBowl XLV.

The WalMart in Wylie TX was not the usual landscape for Texas.

And our driveway. . . . (what driveway?)

And Love Field where Southwest Airlines completely closed down after 6" of snow fell on a thick sheet of ice that dropped in on Tuesday and hung around all week.

A picture from the TV NBCDFW Channel 5 broadcast last week.  Most of the schools were closed during the week due to hazardous road conditions.

It was pretty if you didn't have to drive in it.
Today is Super Bowl Sunday and the temperature has reached 46 degrees. Snow is beginning to disappear and the icicles are plummeting to the slushy ground. Finally . . . and just in time.

Workers' Comp - The Little Guy vs The Big Insurance Companies

Workers' Comp - The Little Guy vs The Big Insurance Companies

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Put another log on the fire . . .

Record low temperatures that haven't been felt in fifteen years here in Texas have inspired me to fire up the old Englander Wood Burning Stove.  It served us well in the early years before we had central air conditioning and heat. This morning, our HVAC unit was set for 74 degrees but was struggling to keep the inside temp above 68. That's a wee bit chilly for these bones.

We're in the midst of a winter storm that shut down the schools and many of the businesses across the metroplex yesterday and today. The Arctic Blast has brought on power outages to homes and buildings. Streets have become a major hazzard to most Texans who are unprepared to drive on the ice. Even seasoned truckers lost it yesterday driving on roads that resembled glaciers from the Ice Age.

Dallas Texas - Hazardous road conditions
It was a great day to stay home and make a big cauldron of steaming hot Chicken and Barley soup a recipe that required only the basic ingredients I generally keep on hand. The soup turned out quite good for my first venture into the Barley food group. So we're having it for lunch again today. Soup really is good food.

We're grateful that our power remains on, unlike the thousands of folks who've lost power in the worst storm of the decade.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February whooshes in with another Arctic Blast

We could hear the tap tap tap of little ice granules when it began late last evening, ushering in the full force of another winter storm. By the time the alarm went off there was a visible layer of tiny white pebbles covering both the front and back porch. The dogs, who got up at 3am to make their rounds, were fascinated by their water dish which has frozen into a giant slushie.  It was just two days ago we were enjoying a brief sunny break in the winter temperatures with a pleasant 70 degrees. Today the mercury has remained fixed at 20 degrees.

Most of the Dallas Schools are closed along with countless businesses as the ice settled on many of the overpasses and streets faster than the sand trucks can keep up. At the last report, there were 15 tractor trailer rigs involved in a series of accidents after jack knifing and sliding into one another and any neighboring cars. It's a great day for reading, writing and enjoying a nice cup of tea.
Hubby has ventured out in the mess to keep an appointment with the Pain Management Doctor, another new one. This guy has actually prescribed something to reduce the muscle contractions that accompany pathology at four levels of the lower back. Thank goodness for the little things that keep him going.

Workers 'Comp -The Little Guy vs The Big Insurance Companies
Here is the latest in the continuing saga of his battle with Workers' Comp. We had the Contested Case Hearing last Friday and are waiting to hear what the Judge's decision will be.