Saying Goodbye to the Little Green House

 

My home.

My home.

When we moved to Wharton over seven years ago, I thought it would be my last stop. I planned to retire and die in that house.  I am not ready to retire and I am glad I have not died.   I had bounded around the country since I was as a child living in multiple states and homes.  My career had followed the same approach.  I had moved often, dragging my family from one new great job to another.  We came from Florida in 2000 to Sugar Land. I had a couple of jobs in Houston and then took a job in Wharton.

When I had spent a couple of years commuting from Sugar Land to Wharton (Ally had graduated and Lauren was soon to head to high school) it seemed like a good time to move.  I had forever dreamed of having my own place where my horses would be in a beautiful stable, my pastures always green and my arena always dry.  It was hard as a single mom to find a place with acreage and any kind of house in my budget.  Plus, I like many, had hard times in the early 2000’s, and I was afraid of taking on anything that would stretch my budget.

My friend Tara found the little green house.  Boy, it wasn’t much.  But it had six acres, it was three miles to work,  and it had two bedrooms and two baths.  That was about all Lauren and I could hope for then.  The house had holes in the floor where you could see the ground.  The bath tub in my room did not hold water and drained outside (like into the dirt).

The barn we chose (due primarily to financial constraints) was a metal building and the stalls were built by friends.  In the beginning, we could not fence all the acreage and six horses got by on about two acres.  That effectively killed the pasture.

But a lot was right with our little home in Wharton.  I will never forget the satisfaction of doing the horse chores myself.  Once you do, you swear you could never go back to boarding your horses again.  Not because it was bad, but because at your own place it is done your way.  My buckets were clean enough that I would have drunk from them (probably not a great idea) but I scoured them daily.

We were a family that came from having a seriously talented craftsman as husband and father to us to a family of women with no skills.  There was never a chance before to learn to do anything because my ex was always there and extremely capable of doing anything we needed.  But over time on our farm we learned many things, most by necessity.  There was the morning six years ago, when I was leaving for work and glanced over at the barn as I drove down the highway.  The mare, Secret, had kicked at her stallmate and her slim ankle was caught between the boards of the stall.

I flipped the car around, rushed to the barn and sawed the board in half in about one minute.  I didn’t even know I knew how to saw.  I certainly did not know I could saw that fast.

Likewise, Lauren and I learned to hammer and drill, again necessities borne from fallen boards and other disasters.  We found friends too in the little green house.  As time went on, multiple people each day would drive by on the highway out front and honk and wave to us.  They came to include the nurse from mom’s assisted living, the tech from the vet hospital, the man that provided all our sand and gravel, and the guy that pretty much we could count on for anything, Cole, that made our driveway, fixed our broken pipes and hundreds of other things over the years.  I will miss their warm friendship.

Texas is said to have friendly, helpful people and never was it proven more than the day we went out to find our big paint mare, Mariah, stuck with fence wire laced inside her metal horseshoe. She had been pawing at the fence and caught the slender wire in her shoe.   Thankfully, she stood patiently although only two years old at the time.  Lauren and I screamed at passing trucks and one stopped.  He had wire cutters and quickly released Mariah from the fence.

My friend Gaylyn was up to see the new house.  She reminded me how I have lived each day in total absorption of what the weather was and if it was changing.  Having three weather channels on my phone was never enough as I was obsessed with and frightened of rain and storms.  I have been terrified of the weather for seven years straight, afraid it would be too wet (flooding), too dry (no pasture) or too cold (frozen pipes).  I have driven my family (and myself) nuts!

And no reminiscing about the place in Wharton would be complete without my constant moaning about my long commute.  I am sure everyone I have come in contact with in the last several years has heard way too much about that!

So, now the door is closed and locked for the last time and the pasture stands empty for the first time for over seven years.  These years in Wharton have prepared us for this next step.  We knew exactly what we wanted and needed as we set up the new barn and pasture.  We can do so many things we could not have done before.

Wharton, its people and the town, have been very kind to us.  I have lifelong friends from these years that I hope to never lose.  But I have to tell you that a huge weight has rolled off my shoulders.  The weight from the constant worry of what disaster would befall us next, what horrible weather was on the horizon, what part of my house would quit and just stop working next,  I am relieved to be rid of all of those.  I know I will always have issues, like anyone, but in a safer, newer, better prepared home, it will happen less often.  The weather should not be a factor in my new home barring a major hurricane, but we have survived that as well and will again.

It is adios to the old house and bonjour to the new one.  Perhaps I will retire and die here.  I could do much worse.

 

 

Family Weekend

Baby Kendyll is holding her granny nanny's hand as we take her for a stroll today.

Baby Kendyll is holding her granny nanny’s hand as we take her for a stroll today.

My daughter, Amber, from Denver came Thursday night for a belated Easter trip.  Her kids, Riley, 4, and Lexi, 2, are the middle of my grand kids with Jordyn at 6 and Kendyll, 1.   It is always a great, yet hectic, yet wonderful time for us all, as we try to sandwich months of missing one another into a weekend stay.  I am going to stick with mostly photos tonight but am grateful my mom seems to be in much less pain, my contractor is a super star finishing our arena and my family for all our faults is terrific!

Kendyll looking out for her nanny!

Kendyll looking out for her nanny!

Jordyn walking her favorite dog, Muffy.

Jordyn walking her favorite dog, Muffy.

The weather was warm and the kids had fun on the slip’n slide on steroids I bought for them.

Riley-Surfin'USA!

Riley-Surfin’USA!

The poodle could be found lying in the little wading pool trying to escape the Texas heat and humidity.  The kids played hard, we ate well, and crammed as much as possible into our time.

Princess Lexi!

Princess Lexi!

Baby Kendyll at 21 months did anything and everything her cousins did.

What a Bathing beauty!

What a Bathing beauty!

All the kids helped out at the barn last night and got first rides in the newly finished arena. We start them early around here and everyone helped with barn chores.

I think if you can walk you can rake.

I think if you can walk you can rake.

Gotta work if you want to ride.

Gotta work if you want to ride.

Finally, we headed to the arena for family rides.

Feather's first trip in the arena.

Feather’s first trip in the arena.

The arena got bigger than we anticipated, but the footing came out perfectly.

Mick and Feather.

Mick and Feather.

Lexi got a ride on Feather while Mickey was ridden by Riley – ALL BY HIMSELF,

image

In the end, there were a lot of tears as the cousins said goodbye until their next reunion.

Cousins make the best friends!

Cousins make the best friends!

 

 

 

Hallelujah

Life is an interesting thing.  I wrote the post about my mother’s bad news and so many of you, some dear friends, some blog friends I have never met or even know your real names and even some dear old friends that time and circumstance had taken from my life, rallied in positive thoughts, prayers and well wishes for my dear mother.  I had contacted Elsie from Christ Church in Denver, my mother’s church home for so many years, and they got the prayer chain going for my mom as well.

I was still devastated by the thought of surgery.  I spent some time researching what a total elbow replacement would mean (days in the hospital and months of rehab) and as I drove the many miles from Houston to Wharton to pick up my mom and back again to the elbow specialist, I tried to brace myself for the news.  I knew I could not keep making the trips up and down the highway ( another 200 miles today) and stay in good graces at work.  I decided Ally, Lauren and I would just have to trade-off.

All the way to the doctor as my old car bounced along the highway and my mother grimaced in pain, I repeated my apologies to her.  When the young, nice looking doctor  with a gold cross around his neck entered the exam room, his smile made my mom smile in return.

He laid out all the surgical options.  Essentially, if you bend your arm and feel that little point of your elbow, well, that is what she crushed.  Because of where she broke the bone off, the is very little bone to attach a replacement or pins to, and her bone quality is so poor it is unlikely it would ever heal right even if casted for months.

His next alternative had me saying Thank you, God, before he was done. His recommendation was to cast her arm and just let it heal.  No, the dislocated bone would not be corrected.  And the pieces of bone would stay in her arm.  But she is right-handed, she is not doing any real strenuous activities and it would keep her out of the operating room.  At almost 90 years of age it was the best we could hope for!  When they unwrapped her splint, I learned a bit about courage and bravery from my petite momma. She held my hand, gritted her teeth and stayed still as they rewrapped her arm.  Her elbow was the size of a baseball.  In a week, we will return.  Hopefully, the swelling will be down and momma will get a pink cast!

I am so grateful to all of you that thought of her and helped her along.  Prayers were definitely answered. I cannot express what it means to me to not have her facing surgery.  Thank you.  Thank God!

————————————————-

Barn cat JP getting to know the new farm.

Barn cat JP getting to know the new farm.

 

Bad News

I had scheduled an appointment, to follow-up with the orthopedic surgeon, for my mother’s broken arm.  The clinic and doctor where we have all been seen so many times, including my mother, called late Thursday to tell us they would not see my mom and to go elsewhere.  I was pretty furious.  She is an existing patient of this doctor, as are Lauren, Ally and myself.  Really?  Really bad marks for you STMC!  You should take care of your patients when they need you.

I was then forced to wait until Good Friday morning to try to call a brand new orthopedic clinic and make an appointment.  The Lord works in mysterious ways!  They immediately had an appointment that morning with one of their sports medicine doctors.  I felt my almost 90 year-old mother was a long way from team sports, but at least the doc could decide to cast or not cast, and would understand a simple broken arm.  Boy was I about to be so wrong.

I had a new sitter, Mary,  staying with mom as she was in too much pain and was too confused to be left alone.  Mary came along with me as we made the long drive back towards Houston and the new doctor.  Thankfully, she did as I could not leave mom alone a second.  She would complain the splint on her arm was too heavy and pick it up and move it around.  I would cringe at the pain she must have had.

The doctor came in quickly after reviewing her films.  He asked me if I seen the x- rays.   I said no but understood her arm was broken right above the elbow.  He said no that was not the case.  Then he told me, “except when he was working on middle Eastern war casualties and in gangland tortures in New York where he trained had he ever seen an elbow shattered as badly as this one.  Additionally, she had a displaced fracture (dislocated) of the humerus bone.”

I wanted to cry and I have many times since.  The doc went on to tell me they had an elbow specialist but this was so bad they may need the trauma specialist in Houston’s top trauma hospital to repair it.   I asked with her age what was the best we could do.  He thought it would take a total elbow replacement as there were so many fragments broken off.  I asked what if we didn’t do that.  He said minimally the dislocation had to be fixed and the bones pieces removed due to a high chance of infection.

Okay, then I was sick again.  My poor tiny momma enduring surgery, inpatient stays, risks from surgery and anesthetic all because she was left alone in her room and not put to bed.  Apparently, she was left in an armless chair and fell asleep as it was past her usual bedtime.  She was found on the floor.  She must have toppled over and landed with her full weight on her little left elbow.

I WANT TO SCREAM!!

For now, I have sitters with her about 12 hours a day.  We are keeping her pretty sedated which helps with her pain, but increases the risk that she may fall again.  Tomorrow Lauren and I will take her to the hospital for a series of CT-Scans.  We see the elbow specialist Tuesday.

————————————–

My horse and dogs are all safely moved to the new place.  On this joyful Easter there is no joy in my heart just pain and guilt about my mother and that I should have been there or at least had her in a safe place where she would not have had such a horrible accident.

Please keep my mother, Midge, in your prayers.  If you want to send her a pretty pink card, I can send you the address.  Pray her pain is relieved and she lives through this brutal time.

Bruno, Snow and Kona making their way to the pasture for the first time.

Bruno, Snow and Kona making their way to the pasture for the first time.

Pretty Feather

Pretty Feather

Bruno getting the lay of the new land.

Bruno getting the lay of the new land.

Falls and Moves

Kona watching out for our precious items as the truck is unloaded.

Kona watching out for our precious items as the truck is unloaded.

Stalls are aost ready for horses.

Stalls are almost ready for horses.

We have had movers scheduled for over six months. At the last minute it occurred to me the moving van might be too tall for our gate. Thank God I checked because it was too tall and we would have been walking items from the road.  As dusk fell last night the movers had found a truck to rent under the 13 foot max that the gate allowed.

Lauren and I were off to bed early last night exhausted by the tearing down of furniture, final packing and preparing the horses to leave.  At this point most of our stuff was already moved. I had no phone charger, so I took my phone to the car to charge.

As I awoke at my usual time this morning to feed the dogs and horses, I went and checked on my cell phone in the car. I was surprised to see six missed calls.  From the phone number it was clear they were all from Elmcroft the nursing home where my mother is. The first message I got which remember is in the opposite order in which they came was -you need to pick your mother up at the emergency room. The second message was your mother has taken an ambulance to the emergency room.  The third one was your mother had a fall earlier tonight and we are taking her by ambulance to the emergency room and the very first one was your mother fell but is okay.

I was horrified, felt guilty and was terrified that she wasn’t okay. She had broken her left arm right above the elbow. They had her back at the nursing home and I was headed that way in a fine rage first thing this morning.  We are totally out of our morning routine and nothing is the way that it normally is. And I wasn’t functioning in any way that was good or straightforward. So I threw my car into reverse to hurry to the nursing home.  I smashed into Lauren’s car which was parked directly behind mine.  The damage wasn’t bad but it was certainly significant for an almost new car or at least new to us.

I got to the nursing home to find her already dressed which I didn’t understand how they did, in the dining room trying to eat some food. She was certainly better than I had anticipated. I remembered Ally and how much horrible pain she had been breaking her arm earlier this year.

I am angry because I have a sitter that stays with her each evening and is supposed to get her back to her room and to bed. But the sitter had to leave early to get a check in the bank and so she wasn’t there when mom came back from dinner. I think the people at the nursing home didn’t know that she went to bed so early and had left her sitting up in the chair.  She was found laying on the left arm next to the chair.

Anything we tried to do seemed very, very difficult for her. Even trying to get her to the bathroom with just one good arm and the other one so painful was extremely difficult.

Since it was the day the movers were coming there was no way I could stay. The nursing home administration quickly found a sitter to coming to stay with her all day long because someone had to keep an eye on her. It was horrible to leave her so little with such a big cast just by herself on the bed.  Prayers are gratefully requested.

In the end the movers came. We packed up almost every single thing in the little green house. We left the dogs and the horses behind and made another trip back to Richmond. It took a long time to get all the things in the house. And we were very happy when our friends Tracy and Amanda came and brought us lunch after our horrible day.

Lauren and I drove back down to Wharton to see my mom again late in the afternoon. I think she had had as good a day as she could with the sore arm aching and aching. The sitter had arrived for the evening and we stayed with her little over an hour as she quietly laid on the bed. She just didn’t seem to understand and would occasionally move her arm to and flinch with the pain.

When we got back to the new house it was almost dark. It would be the first night we would both sleep in our beds with our furniture and three of the dogs. Lauren  and I walked out to the barn with the dogs to see what progress had been made on the barn and the fences. The barn looks so good and is almost ready for occupants. Two of the pasture fences have been completed as well. That was a very happy note on which to end this very sad day for us.

 

 

Update from Kona

Kona standing guard at the front door.

Kona standing guard at the front door

This will be short tonight as I am posting off my phone as I spend my very first night (alone!) in the new house. Lauren is back in Wharton with the remaining furniture and dogs, cats and horses. Richard is doing an amazing job on the fences, arena, and barn build out.

Kona  posing by the new tack room.

Kona posing by the new tack room.

So I am going to be a mere 25 miles from work when I wake up tomorrow.  I am sure all will be fine but sure wish Kona would quit walking by the windows and growling!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kona-another day on the job

Lauren excitedly standing in front of the house.

Lauren excitedly standing in front of the house.

Although Sunday, my terrific contractor and his helpers are feverishly working to set all the fence posts prior to the bad weather due to town tomorrow.  Lauren, Kona and I made another trip with more stuff.  Each of the horses have a container containing their blanket wardrobes.  Of course, there are a couple  of unnamed bins that just contain the “extras”.

Kona assuring all the horse blankets are stacked and organized.

Kona assuring all the horse blankets are stacked and organized.

The workers were finalizing the arena fencing while another started stripping the grass to expose the dirt.  Once the arena is cleared and leveled the trucks will start showing up with tons of sand. The team is working so hard!  Not sure just how many loads of fill will be needed this jumbo arena.  Could get a little pricey!  And I am sure I will need to add more later. Pretty sure it would be just as effective to line dollar bills one after another.

Sick of Kona yet?  In front of the arena, with  the tractor behind him.

Sick of Kona yet? In front of the arena, with the tractor behind him.

We got back to Wharton in the early afternoon.  I needed a break and time to re-group.  I also was anxious to spend some time with my sweet momma.  We will hopefully move furniture, dogs, cats and horses by Thursday!  Happening fast!