News, updates, and happenings with the Kragnes family: Phil, our Seeing Eye Dogs, and (me) Rebecca.

General update

Settling by the fireplace after a scrumptious supper of burgers, Chex mix, an orange, and ice cream, it’s time to catch you up on what’s going on around here. Then if I still have the writing bug, I may write a little more of a reflective piece.

It’s a momentous week for Phil, because he’s going back to work. The kidney numbers keep going in the right direction, and his endurance is slowly coming back. Since that third hospitalization, he lost that fluid in his gut pretty quickly once doctors did what worked for him before. In fact, one weekend, he was in the bathroom at least once an hour and lost 20 pounds! I think he’s excited to get back to a routine. He’ll be taking paratransit for the first week, and I suspect that may go longer. For those not in the area, it feels like the winter will never end. If it’s not cold it’s snowing. If it’s not snowing, it’s cold. Many years we have one or two thaws to get rid of the snow, but not this year. It’s really high, and neither team in this house has been able to do too much winter walking because of that. It’s hard to imagine where all of the snow coming this month is going to go. March is typically the snowiest month of the year. We’re still well into the subzero temps, and normally by March, these extreme temperatures are done.

I think I mentioned in an update that my husband got a recharging doc for my phone bed rail in January. When he was in the hospital, I learned to love being able to listen to music in the bedroom and dozing off to it. When he came home that wasn’t an option, and he understood how much I loved hearing music to relax. The main issue was that the headphone jack wasn’t exposed to use when the phone was charging in the doc. He looked at some Bluetooth headphones which were made for sleeping, but between my sleep mask and the expense, I wasn’t sure they’d work. I already had a brand new stereo pillow speaker stored in a drawer for when I finally broke down and threw the old one out which hasn’t worked right for years. I was down to one speaker which worked. It was ok for books but not music. Late last year, we thought we were having trouble with another Blue Tooth receiver which brings the music and sounds from our computer into the living room stereo. Phil ordered a different kind to try, and when it got here, we had figured out the problems with the other one were on the human end.
I thought he sent the other one back, but it’s now Velcroed to my headboard. I can plug my speaker in to its headphone jack and listen to my iPhone with Bluetooth turned on. Eventually, I’ll listen to books this way too, but I like my sleep timer which isn’t available on the talking book app on the iPhone yet. My husband spoils me so much!

I’ve been slowly working toward Internet broadcasting. I now have a combo of a mike and headphones which seem to produce good sound. With the addition of an extension cord, they do well running to my chair in the living room. This is important, because in addition to loving my comfy chair, the office / bedroom housing the computer gets so cold, especially at night. I want to be able to broadcast in front of the fireplace. I took the next step last week when I applied to a station called the Phoenix where my Keyboard show is likely to fit nicely. Many of the presenters migrated from the deceased MushroomFM where I originally wanted to broadcast. As people and as presenters, many are easy to like. I’m catching other broadcasters who were at Mushroom on other stations too. A consistent R&B station out of Atlanta called PeachTreeRadioFM has become a recent favorite. Then on Saturday nights I catch my friend Eric’s American Music Country Countdown on a station called Now Country, because I really like many of today’s country artists, too. Though I love both stations, the Phoenix allows a lot more variety of genres, and I definitely want my Keyboard show to encompass several of them. This Monday I work over Skype with my mentor who is setting me up and teaching me the software.

This Tuesday, we have the gas guy come to tune up the furnace/A.C. My friend Catalina is also coming over with some bulbs for our Scentsy warmers. She was here last week and gave me some pomegranate perfume as a totally unexpected gift. She was so nice to ask very gently if she could visit, and it made me realize I haven’t had people over as consistently as I used to. I have also stopped talking on the phone as frequently too. I’ve been so stressed out for the last year or two that I sort of isolated myself to try not to put any of that stress on anyone else.

Another visit from four people on Valentine’s Day also brought this to mind. Last fall, I started being a part of a group going out to dinner once a month. We’ve informally called ourselves the Dinner Delvers. Phil joined us in December, and we knew he’d be a lot more of a regular with us when dialysis was no longer an issue. We weren’t sure how Phil would be feeling, so we decided to have everyone who could make it come here. We had a great evening ordering delivery, eating, and laughing around the table and the fireplace. None of them had been to our house before, and it was so great to hear how much they liked it. February 14th marked the eighth year we’ve been here. Sighted people tell us all the time how much they love the wood work and other visual elements, but it was cool to have totally blind people tell us how cozy and friendly it felt in here.

I have two things to end this entry. We’ve tried to slowly get back into not doing quite as much delivery as we used to when Phil was on dialysis. However, there are certainly things Phil has been craving since he can finally eat them. We haven’t been able to order from many pizza places, because many don’t have a white sauce. Tomato sauces are high in things Phil wasn’t able to have during dialysis. I haven’t exactly argued against red sauce either. Apparently during the intervening two years, Papa John’s introduced a terrible temptation called a family sized Chocolate Chip Cookie. We’re talking warm, gooey sinfulness!

And speaking of sinfulness, Lent starts Wednesday. I feel like in some ways I’ve been in Lent for a while, but no… Anyway, I stopped my priest tonight asking for “the usual”. I had to remind him “the usual” was my dispensations from abstinence. For years at our house, Lent was a tense time – particularly Fridays and Ash Wednesday. Phil would come home craving a hamburger, and I said “Go ahead. I’ll find something else.” He’d realize why, and he’d hit the ceiling talking about how the Popes just wanted to get more fish sold. When my current priest came onboard, I explained the situation, and he reiterated the point again. “Remember, your marriage comes first.” But tonight, he had an addition as I was heading outside. “And not falling on this property comes second.”

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