Thursday, August 29, 2013

New Place, Favorite Spaces

And, exhale. We're finally getting settled.
This is much more of a grown-up kind of place and I feel very lucky to have stumbled upon it. 
We're renting from a nice lady whose late husband was a wheelchair. When we toured the space for the first time, she was very relatable to our situation.  Although it's not wheelchair accessible, it works for us, for now.
The floor plan is very open and gives Jimmy lots of room to zoom all around.
This gave us an opportunity to get rid of some old, broken, hand-me-down furniture and get a few new items.
I wanted to share some of my favorite little spaces in our new home.    

I've had this since the last place but it made the cut.

I like the reminder so I framed it and made it pretty.

Because let's face it. Shit could be worse.

My painted nightstand, giant pineapple basket and our M wedding cake topper. 

This is one of the little reasons I love this place.
I miss having a ceiling fan but this is gorgeous.

If it was good enough for Mary Tyler Moore, it's good enough for Jaimie Lee Moore.

This is our new dining room table. It's higher than the average table so it's perfect for Jimmy to wheel up to and get some grub.

It makes a difference not having to stand to eat.
I loved this photo so used a Groupon to have it enlarged onto a canvas. Wherever you go in the house, Jimmy's smile follows you...

Foyer, key, mail, umbrella area.
And what do ya know: another M.

Our patio. And, there's a little drop at the door step so stacking door mats right now is what we're doing for Jimmy to get in and out until I figure out a temporary ramp situation.
The hallway leading into Jimmy's room...

And finally, Scarlett. She gets a wall to herself because she's Scarlett.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom: Psyched

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Domestic in Decatur: Salisbury Steak

Alright. I needed to prove/remind Jimmy that I was a decent cook. I have gotten into a rut of cooking healthy which can make for bland meals. Usually it's fine by me, but Jimmy likes his food with lots of flavor and fat.

That won't help our goal, you know, to STAY ALIVE but once in awhile I like a good greasy meal as much as the next gal.

This morning over coffee, I flipped it to The Pioneer Woman on Food Network. The last time I watched TPW, I made what she was cooking. This time... you guessed it. She got me to want to make Salisbury steak. 

This is not something we ate growing up so I've never made it.

Jimmy loves this stuff, though: intensely southern dishes. I used her recipe minus the browning and seasoning sauce. We also don't keep ketchup in the house, so I used BBQ sauce. Everything else was the same right down to frying the meat in some butter.

Frying meat in butter?!

Whatever you say, PW. I also used not the leanest ground beef so it would be more flavorful.

Instead of regular, white mashed potatoes I made whipped sweet potatoes. They were divine and had some unlikely ingredients.

Here's my recipe: I peeled, cubed and boiled two large sweet potatoes. I drained the water and put the cooked potatoes in a mixing bowl. Added a little milk, a little softened cream cheese, a little butter. I also added some nutmeg, chipotle chili powder, salt, pepper.

I thought adding salt and pepper to sweet potatoes (Something I saw Rachel Ray do) would be weird. WRONG. Sooooo good. Try it.

For our something green, I did zucchini. There was butter in those too. Everything turned out really good. SEE JIMMY I CAN COOK.

But don't get used to all this frying meats in butter non-sense.

Spreading Cupcake Cheer

I had fun doing hospital deliveries today.  I realize how this could sound contradictory.
A friend has a cousin in the hospital near Atlanta. I would take her some goodies. It was a good opportunity for me to drop off some more cupcakes to a SCI patient at Shepherd we've been visiting.
The couple of times we had CamiCakes delivered to us in the hospital it was just... pure icing heaven. I have been more than happy to pay this one forward.
I know this is a good gift because the second you walk into Shepherd with CamiCakes you get attacked with excitement from people in the hallways. It's comical. People 'round these parts know the pink cake box and what it's all about.
I made a quick visit to our new friend JD at Shepherd, who looks so much better compared to two weeks ago when I saw him last. Just a reminder, he's a 22-year old from Little Rock who has a similar injury to Jimmy's. He's currently on the ventilator (although he's starting to wean himself off -- which is fantastic!)
He got his neck collar off and looks more alive now! I remember how much better Jimmy felt about life when he got his neck collar off.  What a difference that can make when the healing is slow.
I got a chance to talk with JD and his father this afternoon. It was nice of them to take time to talk with me about JD's progress.
Then, off to John's Creek to drop off some goodies for a friend's cousin. My plan for this 19-year old and her family: cupcakes in a pink box, good nail polish, nail polish remover, tinted lip balm and fruity gum.
I figured out a couple of things about myself today: I love doing this. I'm trying to figure out a way I could make money delivering personalized goodie-bags to patients and their families.
And also, I'm really good at spending other people's money. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Fearing Paris

By Marsha Truman Cooper

Suppose that what you fear 
could be trapped 
and held in Paris. 
Then you would have 
the courage to go 
everywhere in the world. 
All the directions of the compass 
open to you, 
except the degrees east or west 
of true north 
that lead to Paris. 
Still, you wouldn't dare 
put your toes smack dab on the city limit line. 
You're not really willing to stand on a mountainside miles away, 
and watch the Paris lights 
come up at night. 
Just to be on the safe side, 
you decide to stay completely out of France. 
But then danger
seems too close 
even to those boundaries, 
and you feel the timid part of you 
covering the whole globe again. 
You need the kind of friend 
who learns your secret and says, 
"See Paris first." 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom: It's Enough

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Dresser Before and After

I'm happy with how this turned out: the painting of the dresser. This is Jimmy's old furniture and he's had it since I've known him. It's a little dated but not bad enough to get rid of, I don't think. There's still hope for this large hunk-a-wood. (That's what she said!) 


I Houzz'd some photos and then picked two of my favorite colors and decided which parts of the dresser not to paint. 

Colors (Behr Ultra Paint + Primer)
*Ashwood (grey) 
*Cozy Cottage (cream) 

Here's what I came up with: 

Life Day 2013

Photos from our Life Day dinner. 

We ate here.
We had an argument. We talked. We made up. We ate. 
Then we shared some ricotta cheesecake. 
All was right with the world. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Your Emergency Row Ambassador

I'm proud of this person.This handsome husband of a person.
(And slightly annoyed at the creepster behind him)
So there I was, only a few hours ago, having my third cup of coffee in bed. I was jumping around on the internet, paying bills, catching up with the world and sending out a few texts to fill some silent voids among friends.

Feeling good this morning and this day. It was dark and cozy in my room. The sun was up but muffled by the rain. Today's rain is okay. I bought chairs for our patio last night. Coffee on the patio during morning rain showers? Yes please and thank you.

Excited to start the day. It would soon be time to wake the husband. 

I then get a text back from a friend I had checked on: "What do you all have planned for tomorrow?"

It's amazing what a date on a calendar can do. The power it has. The tone it carries.

I guess I've been so busy I haven't realized how far in August we already are. (Don't worry, friend. I would have realized it at some point today.)

My stomach has been doing flippies all morning ever since. Hot mess. Too much damn coffee.  

Tomorrow at 2:30pmish.
Two years ago.
A text I received while on my way to work would begin the process of unraveling what has happened.

It was too soon to tell if it was permanent. That news would not come on this day. Monday, August 8, 2011.

The last time Jimmy walked. The last time he drove a vehicle.

Just like that.

I've been telling our story a lot lately, especially to some extended family who has never had the chance to ask me certain questions.

They ask: Were you alone? I hate the thought that you were alone.

Answer: NEVER.

I swear there was some master schedule floating around that had our dear co-workers signed up in shifts. Also, there was always food. Always. I think it made people happy to see I was eating.  

And so I ate. And ate. Almost a little of everything people brought me. Sometimes all of it. It was how I could say Thanks.

I don't ever remember thinking that I couldn't do this. Not once did I ever consider leaving. I knew it was going to be hard, whatever IT was. Nobody really knew, but I could see it on the doctor's faces. They couldn't say it just yet. But I knew we were in for something big.

Here we are. Two years later.

We are in a good place. We are sleeping well. Waking up in good moods. Feeling comfort in our routine. Upset less. Crying less. Dwelling less.

Except for today. Today and tomorrow I will allow myself to cry, be upset and dwell. I will mourn our old life.

I will think about the things we used to do. The places we used to go. The short-lived time in our new apartment. The afterglow of our recent exchange of marriage vows. I will think about the bounce in Jimmy's step. I will think about how good of a photographer he was and how he loved the work he did, genuinely.  I will think about the amazing food he used to make me. I will allow myself to think about all of this, and to miss it.

But I won't stay there for too long. I will come back to current day and be happy about how strong we have gotten. I feel stronger than I ever have.

I recently flew to Ohio and back. On the flight home, my seat was taken by a man who wanted to sit next to the rest of his family. It was fine because there was a whole row of empty seats in which I sat: the emergency exit row.

The flight attendant asked me to verbally accept the responsibility of sitting there. I thought: probably nothing will happen, and I get all this leg room! Woooo!

But if something did happen, I would be the person you would want sitting in that row. I would love nothing more than to be your Emergency Row Ambassador. I would rock that shit. I find myself paying attention now to how to properly put on the oxygen masks. I was no longer awkwardly shying away from the routine flight attendant presentation as if to frightfully reject the notion that something would ever happen.

Sometimes I feel I can lift Jimmy's 400-pound chair if needed.

I am happy to report I have come out on the other side a little stronger. I know this doesn't happen for everyone in our position.

Jimmy has taken on a whole new level of adjustment that you nor I will ever understand. I can't imagine being trapped inside your own body. Not being able to move. What does that feel like?

How does he not breakdown everyday? This is why I admire him. This is why he inspires me. This is why I chose the steps, not the elevator when I'm running errands on my own. This is why I do things simply because I physically can. I wear myself ragged most days -- JUST BECAUSE I CAN.

I cut Jimmy's fingernails, shave him and cut his hair at the end of an exhausting day of unpacking. Because I know he would like to do it if he could. 

Life has a back-handed way of making us realize that we are two very lucky people.  

Because tomorrow, we will celebrate two years of living when death could have easily happened that day.

I have my rock. He is sitting across from me at this very moment. We are sitting on our new patio, breathing in the humid air. Thankful for every goddamn breath. 

I don't even see his chair anymore. I don't see the injury hardly ever until I see it on the face of someone else.  

I would pick this life a million times over versus a life with no him.

Fuck you, crash. You will not win.

We do. We win. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Meeting Lorenzo

It's the last night of my short trip to Ohio and I'm basking in the glow of meeting my only nephew, Lorenzo.

My sister is such a wonderful mother. It truly is amazing to see it all firsthand. 

I already love him so very much. 

My sweet little munchkin-head-stinky-pants.