Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Non-News Update

News is scarce around here. We furiously worked on the house all weekend and while I hope to post some photos soon, as of yet I've got nothing. (Anyone want to see the new grading in the backyard?... Didn't think so!) We did get a snow storm yesterday morning, which I  have posted below. By noon everything had melted and it was a balmy 60 degrees when I came home from work. This afternoon it was sunny enough to go for a bike ride. March is pretty schizophrenic in Colorado.

In other non-news, Castor has discovered the back yard. At the Peery house Castor had his outdoor privileges revoked because he kept getting into fights. There wasn't a backyard per se, and wildlife often came up to the back patio. Whether he was defending his turf or just terrorizing the other neighborhood cats, Castor always seemed to come up bloody. After a few trips to the vet, Than decided to keep him in permanently - at least, that is until we moved. Our new house has a fenced backyard and we were excited to give Castor some quality outdoor time. I say "were" because as Castor has discovered the backyard, we have discovered his new favorite activity is to find the smelliest pile of dirt available and roll in it repeatedly. Castor is a pure white fluffy cat and any hint of color in the following photos is not a shadow - he was covered in dirt and extremely proud of himself.

Of course, the dirt piles he finds are sticky as well as smelly (how do pets know where to find those?) and it is almost impossible to brush him clean. We were forced to give him a rub down with a wet towel (worse thing that could possibly happen to him) and then brush him vigorously (best thing that could possibly happen to him). We're not sure if the towel will dissuade him or if the brush will encourage him...

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Chainsaw Massacre

So at 4:30 PM yesterday afternoon my brother showed up with his chainsaw and demanded to know what we needed chopped. We had previously discussed possibly trimming and/or cutting down some of the trees in our new yard, but did not have any firm plans. Apparently my brother thought if he showed up with a chainsaw and some attitude we would give him something to cut. Well, it worked.

This is a street view of the front of our house. As you can see, we've got a bit of a forest.

Mitch & Than attacked the trees and twenty minutes later the tree on the right looked like this. The other pine got a trim too, and then the boys moved onto the backyard.

This large tree is in our backyard. We had a landscaper check out our yard on Thursday (what a coincidence) and he recommended we cut off most of the lower branches to even-up the tree. Mitch thought that was a great idea.

Mitch & Than scoping out the tree. Note the rope.
The plan is for Mitch to cut the branch, which Than will then "catch" with the rope and lower to the ground.
The branch yanked Than off of the  ground and crashed into the house, ripping down our telephone line.

Well, the rope idea didn't work exactly as planned, but we weren't too upset about the phone line. We only cell phones anyway. I thought this would be the end of the excitement, but I was wrong. Another twenty minutes later and I looked out my window to see this:

That's right, the chainsaw-ladder combo. Because operating a custom-made chainsaw isn't dangerous enough; you have hold the chainsaw over your head while precariously balancing on a ladder to really make it interesting. Than did it to, on the other side of the tree, although he managed to escape being photographed.

I can't say I'm a big advocate of this. I had a volunteer slice off the tip of his finger with the table saw at work that Thursday afternoon (yet another coincidence) and I had just lined up a safety-review meeting for the roundhouse no more than two hours before this went down in my backyard. So much for safety! This pretty much scared the bejeezus out of me and I quietly ignored what they were doing. I figured me screaming "What the hell are you doing? You're going to cut off your arm! GET DOWN." out the window wouldn't help anything. So I pretended not to hear the chainsaw and stayed away from the windows. In the end the boys lived, the trees got a good haircut, and my volunteer didn't lose his finger (they sutured it back on). I suppose all's well that end's well - but if you're going to try and pull this off, I suggest you map out the quickest route to the hospital and have a cooler with ice on hand before you get started...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fighting With My Osteophytes

Well, Than and I are finally settled in our new home. Between moving, planning a wedding, work, and trying to squeeze in a little play, I'm afraid this blog has been neglected. Prepare to  be overwhelmed by information...

Left arm bent as far as it will go.

I visited a chiropractor this week. The last time I went to a chiropractor was in high school, so I was curious about the appointment. I am having problems with my shoulder, and it seems to be getting worse. I hypothesized my shoulder problems are caused by my elbow problems, and it turns out I am right (sort of). I broke my elbow when I as nine, and after the cast came off we discovered I could no longer bend my elbow. I went to one session of physical therapy where a man tried to force my arm to bend (which didn't work), and then the doctor announced he would have to re-break my arm to fix it. Being only 9 years old, I decided leaving well enough alone was fine with me. Fast forward twenty years.

Right arm bending properly.
My arm still does not bend, but now I am discovering how the knee bone is connected to the hip bone (I love that song.)  Since my arm won't bend, my shoulder ends up compensating when I do things like lift weights or rock climb or ride a mountain bike or wear a back pack. According to the chiropractor, over time my body has identified my shoulder and my elbow as damaged areas, and has been sending calcium to help fortify them. While good in theory (thank-you body, for trying to protect me), the calcium builds up in little deposits and as it ossifies, can potentially limit your range of motion. This is what is happening in my shoulder area. My calcium deposits are beginning to push on my scapula, which strains all the associated muscles. Same with the elbow. So while I continue to be active in an attempt to keep my body healthy, my body interprets my activities as damaging and continues to deploy calcium.
Gangly chicken wing.

The only short term solution is to let the chiropractor break down the calcium deposits. This is extremely painful - imagine a packet of glass shards being rubbed into your body. I had this treatment yesterday and felt like my elbow was re-broken. (Arm on fire, tender to the touch.) I do believe this is helpful, and am now very aware how sensitive my elbow is. I don't think it has ever really healed and I can only imagine what condition it will be in in another twenty years.
Perfectly functioning right arm.
As for a long term solution, I have considered having my arm re-broken and re-set. This may or may not be possible depending on what exactly is going on in there. My chiropractor hypothesizes osteophytes grew over the fracture and are blocking the joint from bending. Apparently, this not a unique condition (bones often grow osteophytes over fractures or frequent stress-points, like an in-body band-aid), and there are surgical treatments available. Referred to as bone spurs, osteophytes are commonly found in the heels, knees, and shoulders of athletes. I guess there is new laser technology that can remove bone spurs with minimal scarring. This sounds like a good option to me, but I will need X-rays and possibly an MRI to know exactly what my options are. Considering we just bought new home, we are about to host a wedding, and that I have been living with this for twenty years, I'm not sure elective surgery is on the horizon just yet.