Catching up.

Many, MANY thanks for all the well wishes.  I am finally feeling normal again, thank GOD.  This episode was particularly bad.  Normally the dizziness lasts about a week, this time it was more like 10-11 days.  Being me (read DAMN STUBBORN) I basically try to do everything I normally would.  Which – being home most of the time – is usually o-kay.  I can rest between laundry, kids, pets, chores, etc.  When the spins get overwhelming, I lay down.  But Thanksgiving on spin cycle…?  What a trip.  I spent the day in the kitchen, of course.  WELL – It was that or… what?  Try finding a low sodium holiday meal anywhere on a NORMAL day, let alone one when everything is closed.  SO I PERSEVERED.  Being (as I mentioned) stubborn as hell – as well as halfway insane, it didn’t much matter how sh*tty I felt.  I was going to conquer Thanksgiving or die trying.  The results were divine.  I tried several new recipes this year, including a low sodium cornbread stuffing, baked squash & apples, and whipped sweet potatoes.  Which, if I get my act together, I’ll post on my other DAILY DISH.  Stop laughing.

SO. Before the pity fest, I’d been discussing our latest home improvement project.  Re-tiling the upstairs bath.   Here’s the before shot.

And the AFTER.

John & I delved headlong into the wonder that is TILE and within a week had completed the job.  For ease we stuck to the same mosaics we’d used in the downstairs bath.  Mostly b/c we couldn’t find ANY large black & white tiles that didn’t cost $6 each.  Regardless. we both love the mosaic and I think it lends a nice uniformity to the house.  I am giving us an A+.

We spent a lot of time this & last weekend working on projects – despite (or more like IN SPITE OF) the spins.  [Between you & me, I am SO freaking Angry at having this damn disease, I get maudlin, I cry, I sulk, I weep, and then I end up redoubling my efforts TO DO WHATEVER I WANT TO.  Which is not easy when you’re about to fall down, BUT I’D RATHER DIE TRYING]  SO.  Last weekend we lined our chimney (YES, BY OURSELVES).  Here is my husband up inside the bricks.

My contribution was more minimal to say the least.  I was not allowed on the roof (thank GOD) so I spent most of that day helping assemble the chimney liner.  No small task if you’ve ever done one.  It first entails unfurling this huge metal snake from its (shipped) coiled form.  In our case (b/c of the massive size of the flue) 8″ x 35 ft of the most unruliest, unwieldiest metal EVER.  It took FOREVER.  You have to treat this liner w/ kid gloves so it doesn’t break.  Which, oh by the way, happened the first time.  Thankfully Chimney Liner Depot is the BEST COMPANY EVER and sent us a free replacement literally w/in days.  WE LOVE YOU, CHIMNEY LINER DEPOT!   So after the thing is straightened, you have to insulate it.  Using insulation, spray glue and tape.  FUN!  Then you have to sheath it in wire mesh.  Then wrap more wire round that.  All the while being careful not to handle the RAZOR SHARP ENDS which will surely sever your flesh from bone.  The end result?  GORGEOUS.

After all that, which would likely do in lesser men, we had to rig a rope through the liner so we would be able to install it.  We decided in my spinny condition, it would be easier to lift the liner UP the chimney, rather than risk one of us falling off the roof whilst attempting to haul it up there and subsequently drop it down the flue.  See, we are smart.  SO, my husband tied fishing line to our dog’s kong ball, rolled it though the liner, then reattched the rope to the fishing line & gingerly pulled it through.  Genius!  We then had to shimmy the thing across the yard to the front door.  B/c remember, IN-STALL-ATION.  BTW.  Did I mention my husband is a superhero?  While I was holding onto walls, recovering from the liner assembly, he was sawing apart that steel damper plate in the hearth, getting everything ready.  Then he got up on the roof and HEAVED, while I hoed at the bottom, together managing to SHOVE THAT SUCKER RIGHT ON UP.  YAHHOOOOOOOOOOO!!

I am thrilled to tell you that our chimney is now lined.  My husband has replaced the metal plating (as well as insulating it), and our wood stove is (after a TWO MONTH WAIT) FINALLY IN!!  And blazing.  Did I mention how hot this thing gets?  We’re talking hell hot.  In fact, we now have to wear summer clothes in our living room b/c otherwise we are passing out.  Don’t get me wrong, I am ecstatic.  But for someone accustomed to being cold, this is taking some getting used to.  Our former house had FORCED AIR HEAT.  Surely, the worst kind of heating system in the history of mankind.  You’d turn it on, POoooooOOOoF, it’d blow out at you.. ahh, toasty warm.  Two minutes later, it shuts off, the air whistles out our 100 yr old windows and you are FREEEZING.  8 yrs in that house, each winter I’d wear long underwear, two sweaters and a hat.  In the house.  NOW.  We have moved to MAINE (cooooold), have bought an even older house (250 yrs) and I sit by my wood stove cooking.. Talk about crazy. PS.  I was super amused yesterday, looking out the window whist painting my older daughter’s bedroom, I noticed our neighbors across the street having their chimney lined.  By a team of 3-4 men.

SO.  WHat else have we been doing>>>?  This weekend John replaced the upstairs hall light

and rewired a downstairs circuit to accommodate exterior Christmas lights.  Which I LOVE.

Our weather has been rainy of late and our basement has been taking on water.  So we spent a great deal of time trying to rectify the situation in the short & long term.  Mostly I curse, while my husband takes action.  He bought a concrete chisel and has been hammering out channels for the water to make its way to the drain.  Did I mention my husband is a superhero.  And NO he is not available for housecalls (CURLY).

Well that’s it for now.  Except for one thing.  Could someone PLEASE tell me who left this basket of holiday cheer on our doorstep??  Fess up.  We found it several days ago.  SOme little elf has made us all very merry.  MANY THANKS~!

Living with Meniere’s

I get a lot of hits on this blog. Some of you visiting are my friends and family, but others of you are strangers desperate for answers.  Whether you’ve found me through a google search, or have clicked through from The Daily Dish, it is for you that I write this post.  You have been drawn here b/c you, like me, suffer from Meniere’s Disease.

I don’t talk about Meniere’s very often, mostly b/c it’s so damn depressing, but today I am breaking the silence.  Yesterday the dizziness came out of nowhere.  One minute I was fine, the next – nearly on the floor.  Why?  Good question.  It could be a myriad of things, from food to motion to emotion.  But often it’s simply a change in the weather.  Barometric pressure can do funny things to a girl.  And as fun as it might sound to be a human barometer, it’s really not.  Right now I am practically strapped to my chair.  I walk the hallway, steadying myself with the walls.  Living w/ Meniere’s Disease is a literal roller coaster, and most often I try to ignore it away.  But today I can’t.  On days like this, the best I can do is stay calm.

What is it like, one of these episodes? Well. For me, they vary. Take today. I feel dizzy. Unbelievably so. There’s an intense pressure in my head, which gets worse if I move a certain way, or stiffen up, or cough or sneeze or chew – or pretty much do anything. I feel like a top that’s been wound too tight, about to spiral off into the universe.  I am trapped inside my own body.  Like a prisoner, I have no control.  So here I sit. Feeling sorry for myself. I know these episodes pass. It’s not forever.  But it’s hard to reason w/ yourself when you’re feeling so bad. Today it’s the dizziness. Other times, it’s my hearing. First comes the pressure.  I try to coax my ear from its hissy fit.  With increasing desperation, I try to keep it open.  I pop it, over and over.. but it’s no use.  Soon my ear closes off to the world.  The tinnitus grows, my hearing recedes.  Once again, I am half-deaf.  I am alone again, inside.

The doctors try, but they can’t do anything for me. Really. It’s amazing how medicine has made such strides, but so much remains unknown.  I get very philosophical when I’m like this. Forgive me. But I can’t stop thinking about it all.